How to Become a Volunteer?



Chapter 2 discussed the characteristics and distribution of the volunteer population and solidarity activities in Mexico, based on an analysis of the National Survey on Solidarity and Volunteer Action (ENSAV, Spanish acronym). According to the findings of ENSAV, activities carried out by people through institutions and groups to help third parties represent 44% of the volunteer population. This implies that almost half of the population carrying out volunteering activities chooses to do so through organized groups. In addition, the ENSAV report also shows that 24% of all those participating in such an activity belong to some organized group. The percentage seems low, but corresponds with the results of other studies (Layton 2006).

Two aspects of the data that stand out call for attention (a) a significant percentage of the population carrying out volunteer or solidarity-type actions prefer to do so through organizations or institutions and (b) a fourth of the population performing these actions belongs to an organized group. Although the analysis of both aspects is relevant, we find that information about what goes on in a Mexican society is practically unavailable. In order to find out more about these aspects, the following three chapters analyze in depth what happens specifically with regard to people who belong to volunteer groups and actively participate in non-profit organizations (NPO) as a way to help others.

As a complement to the ENSAV, 15 case studies carried out in NPOs, with a total of 66 in-depth interviews, are analyzed in this chapter; the activities of volunteers are also explored in detail here. It might be mentioned that the ENSAV made it possible to develop a clear understanding of the nature of help for third parties and its different modalities in the national context. Simultaneously, the case studies will allow us to delve more deeply into an understanding of volunteers in Mexico, as well as the concerns and reasons they have for getting involved in activities to help third parties. Thus, we will have information about the behavior of the population over 18 years of age in Mexico with regard to acts of solidarity, and also the characteristics and paths followed by actors who, in a voluntary and organized fashion, perform actions to help others.


Volunteer Activity Volunteer Group Street Child Moral Commitment Sick People 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Luis MoraMéxico D.F.México

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