Let’s have a closer look at what motivations are and how we can understand them better. 

The term “motivation” describes why a person does something. It is the driving force behind human actions.  For instance, motivation is what helps you or pushes you to achieve something like finishing your studies or getting a job. Motivation is the fuel that propels your actions toward a specific goal.

Concerning volunteering, motivation might vary: it can include external rewards, such as credits for your studies or intrinsic motives, such as satisfaction for doing good, etc. 

Below you can find a model that shows different drivers that motivate people to volunteer. This division of motivations for volunteering is based on a Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) theory from Clary et al. (1998). It will help us better understand  our own motivation to volunteer. We will propose to you different tasks and we will guide you through a pathway of reflection, which we hope  will clarify your motivations and expectations behind your choice of cross-cultural volunteering. 

According to the VFI model, generally there are six different sources of motivation. They are presented here in the shape of a star, as in the illustration below:

Source: Clary, E. G., Snyder, M., Ridge, R. D., Copeland, J., Stukas, A. A., Haugen, J., & Miene, P. (1998). Understanding and assessing the motivations of volunteers: A functional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1516-1530.