An exploration into the motivations, barriers, and benefits associated with volunteering among final year full-time undergraduate students

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Kelly, Niall
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences and opinions of full-time final year undergraduate students who participate in volunteering activities in Ireland. The research examined and analysed the motivations that drive student volunteering, the barriers inhibiting participation, and the benefits of volunteering engagement. The data was collected by conducting semi-structured interviews on six suitable participants which was subsequently examined using thematic analysis. The findings of the research suggested that the main motivation for students to volunteer was based on the development of career opportunities and enhancement of employability. Additional motivational factors identified in the study included; creating a positive impact on society, and the opportunity to learn and develop new skills and qualities. Lack of time was cited as the core restricting barrier which inhibited the students from participating in volunteering. The study also acknowledged that inexperience due to the young age of the students, and financial constraints were two further barriers emphasised by the participants in the study. The most important benefit to students was undoubtedly the sense of increased satisfaction and happiness, stemming from a positive impact created on society. Further benefits discovered in the study included the positive impact volunteering has on the students college course content, and the development of valuable contacts for future use. The research found differences and similarities between the experiences of final year undergraduate students and other groups who volunteer in society. It is vital to acknowledge the outlook and viewpoint of students and take action in response to their experiences and opinions of the volunteering sector in Ireland. They represent an important and influential group in society and it is imperative to conduct further research in the area to maximise the potential of students and increase the amount of volunteers participating in the area.