Research has identified that volunteering provides value to organizations, communities, and volunteers themselves. Yet, empirical research on the value that volunteers might provide to recipients of their support (i.e., clients) is very limited. Building on insights from attribution theory, we argue that clients are more likely to attribute support from volunteers to altruistic and sincere motives relative to support from paid workers, and that this provides the foundations for affect-based trust to develop between clients and volunteers. We present data from two experiments that support this indirect effect of volunteerism on affect-based trust. Our findings provide insights into why and how volunteers may provide relational value to clients and human service organizations.

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Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Hoogervorst, N., Metz, J., Roza, L., & van Baren, E. (2015). How Perceptions of Altruism and Sincerity Affect Client Trust in Volunteers Versus Paid Workers. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 45(3), 593–611. doi:10.1177/0899764015597778