Voluntourism. Intrinsic motivation or just CV building?

Scientific Study, 2011

29 Pages, Grade: 2,3




Introduction – Give a little, gain a lot

Background - Voluntourism

Theory – Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations / New tourism

Methodology – Desk research / Survey





Table of Figures

Fig. 1 Crosstab Volunteer work done * gender

Fig. 2 Crosstab positive aspect in the cv * gender

Fig. 3 Crosstab self- discovery * gender

Fig. 4 Volunteer stays abroad

Fig. 5 Destination chosen by the future volunteers

Fig. 6 Motivations

List of Abbreviation

illustration not visible in this excerpt


This paper discusses the problem of volunteering whether it is an intrinsic motivation or just cv building. The paper should answer the question whether volunteering is just a positive thing for the curriculum vitae or an intrinsic motivation, and which are the real motivations for doing volunteer work. Furthermore it should be analyzed the differences in gender, the fact of doing volunteer work and the motivation and the link between volunteering and may cv building. Two Scenarios are presented and discussed by linking two theories. The theory of intrinsic and extrinsic needs and the theory of the new tourism by Poon. The literature review discloses that the different motivation have been developed over time. Three empirical hypotheses should be answered by using desk research and a survey. The hypothesis could not be confirmed because there are almost no differences between the gender and the different motivations. Especially females were examined in the empirical hypothesis because of the abolition of the military service.

Introduction – Give a little, gain a lot

To describe volunteering in a short slogan: “Give a little, gain a lot”. What you gain is not money; sometimes it is just a smiling of a sick child. But volunteer work could also be helping at big sport event e.g. childcare. It is voluntary work without payment and for the benefit of others. Volunteering is a kind of goodwill activity. People are offering their services to help people in need and “to change some aspects of society for the better”[1]. Even after natural disasters like hurricane Katrina or the big earthquake on Haiti, are volunteers needed, because many houses are destroyed and the people need help to build up their houses and other things. That could happen all over the world not just in developing countries. Many people are thinking that people in third world countries need more help than e.g. people in Germany or Europe. That is an important point but many people in Germany are also poor and there are living many people on the streets, which also need help. Lots of people want to do something good during their holidays. More people of all ages are choosing holidays in combination with volunteering in different projects. That is called volunteer tourism or voluntourism. The most popular countries for such projects are third world countries. It is like “the west to the rest” more people of the western world are doing volunteer work in especially third world countries[2]. There are many different motivations to choose doing a volunteer work somewhere. But often volunteer work is used to get a positive thing in a cv or to get a bonus in the application process. But another motivation could also be

- living with locals
- to esteem another country
- to learn the language

The aim of the paper is to find out whether volunteering is an intrinsic motivation or just cv building. Therefore people were asked in a survey about their volunteer experiences. Furthermore the paper should bring up the motivations of young people doing volunteer work, because it is a popular activity for a self- discovery after e.g. graduation. This paper should analyze in a survey whether more female participants have done volunteer work after graduation as a kind of self-discovery or just for cv building.

Background - Voluntourism

The numbers of people who like to do international volunteer work increases in the last few years[3]. It is a popular activity for young people after graduation or for students during the semester.

Volunteering, if it is a part of a holiday, is also called „voluntourism“ because it is one of the fastest growing tourism niches at the moment[4] [5] [6]. Volunteering as previously mentioned is “good work” and tourism is a generic term for travelling, travel business and the hospitality industry. “Volunteer tourism (a form of tourism where the tourists volunteer in local communities as part of his or her travel)[…]”[7]. So voluntourism “based more on ‘being, doing, touching and seeing’ rather than just ‘seeing’”[8]. But one important point is that most of the people just want to relax on their holidays and do not want to work even if it is good work[9]. In a survey of TUI came out, that 24% of the German citizen would spend a period of their annual holiday to help underprivileged people in different countries. Especially young people under 39 years with an a-level as well as students are interested in doing volunteer work in combination with a holiday[10]. Volunteer tourism as a new tourism niche will exists as long as the local people can gain from it.[11]

In this paper the author focused on volunteering as the only motivation for volunteer work and not as a by- product of a holiday. For instance, after graduation many pupils do not know what they want to do and then they often choose to go abroad. The period of orientation whether starting studying or doing an apprenticeship is about a year and some decide to work as an au pair, work & travel or doing volunteer work abroad. The most popular destinations are Africa, Asia and Latin America.[12] The top ten destinations for volunteer work with lots of projects are:

- India
- Ecuador
- Costa Rica
- Ghana
- Honduras
- Guatemala
- China
- Kenya
- Brazil
- Italy
- England
- Indonesia

The first association with volunteer work is often: poverty. So many poor countries were chosen to help. It is surprising to see two European countries in the top ten list and not just third world countries. These two countries have many projects in the areas of “community welfare” or “business”, the other eight countries have more projects in “teaching” or “community welfare”[13]. The philosophy of volunteer work is helping “poor” people.

People of all ages try to get more sense for other people or they need a break from their work or need a self- discovery. The most popular ages are between 18- 30 years, but also 70-years old people do volunteer work[14]. In most cases the people are not going to the poorest of the poor countries of the world, the sometimes so called “fourth world countries” like e.g. Malawi. But the reason could be that young people between 20- 24 often do not have travel experiences and they do not know the “poorest places” in the world. In most of the times the volunteers are working on a project for short times between one week and more than a year. But in some organizations volunteers are urgent needed to help as many people as possible, because many organizations could not exists without volunteers. Other popular projects are different kinds of wildlife projects e.g. in national parks or breeding stations for animals, especially in Asian countries and South America.

Most of the third-party organizations, which are organizing volunteer trips, are really expensive. So the volunteers do not get money for their “good work” and they have to pay for that possibility. It is a big industry, and these agencies get money for just communicating a place to do “good work” and sometimes for communicating an accommodation in a host family. Many third- party organizations like praktikawelten or travelworks just telling the good things about a destination and do not prepare the volunteers for their stay. Often the volunteers are shocked because of so much poverty and often they are leaving their projects earlier than scheduled. And that is a problem because volunteers are often needed to finish a project. It is an industry to get money for something that should be free of charge. But tourism is an industry driven sector and volunteering, as a form of tourism is profit-oriented. Another criticism is that most of the jobs, which the volunteers get e.g. house building, could get a local person[15]. So, is volunteering an intrinsic motivation to help people or just the striving for a “perfect” cv?

Theory – Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations / New tourism

This paper based on the theory of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation as well as the theory of the new tourism by Poon.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations are different. An intrinsic motivation is something somebody really wants for himself or herself like e.g. self- discovery and therefore he or she goes to South Africa. Extrinsic motivations are „controlled“ by external influences. An example would be somebody goes to South Africa just to tell other people, that he or she has been to South Africa because of the “exotic” destination, it is sort of prestige. In the case of volunteering the intrinsic motivation is that the volunteers really wants to help people in need and to feel needed by these people for a e.g. self-discovery or for the self-development. It is a motivation coming from inside of somebody. An extrinsic motivation would be for instance just to help the people for a good part in the cv. But an intrinsic motivation could also be an extrinsic motivation. As previously mentioned the intrinsic motivation for example to help but could also be used as an extrinsic motivation because nearly every volunteer would put that aspect in his or her cv. To provide an example to the contrary for an extrinsic motivation could be to have something good in their cv like volunteering and the intrinsic motivation in that case would be decided to help people to have a good point in the cv[16].

Five forces are driving and influencing the theory of the new tourism by Poon. New consumers and new technologies are driving the new tourism but the management, the frame conditions and the production are influencing the new tourism. But in this paper the focus is on the change of the consumers and partly technology. The change of technology is important because of especially the Internet. In fact that the technology developed e.g. the Internet, the new tourists are more informed about what they what, about the prices and everything. And the change of the consumers, which were more:

- flexible
- they changed their lifestyles
- they were independent
- and others

Poon said that there are new tourists with new demands on their holidays. The new tourists “want to be different from the crowd”, they are spontaneous and they want a journey of discovery. Volunteers are in relation to Poon the so-called new tourists. They want to see something and do something new and they want to enjoy but not to destroy something; they need experiences, which also develop themselves. They also do it just for the fun of it, they like nature and want to be in charge for something[17]. As already mentioned it is a popular activity after e.g. graduation, the volunteers are more flexible because they are often off the school and they are flexible in their “holiday” planning. The consumption of tourism changed. And because of this change, the consumers also changed like previously mentioned. To go to a third world country after graduation is a big step. Sometimes it is the first journey without parents or friends, but some of them are more travel experienced than others. And these travel-experienced people are the so-called “new tourists”. This is one important aspect of the new consumers, they are more travel experienced and they have changed their lifestyles. Traveling becomes a “way of life” and not just to get new energy to work. The new tourists are characterized by having more income, more free time, wanting fun, they were more travel experienced, want to be different from the crowd and they are hybrid consumers. The old consumers just wanted to relax because holidays were rarely and they wanted to get sun burnt and package holidays were more liked because of the security fact[18]. The characterizing of the new tourists is a kind of characterization for volunteers, because they have similar demands in their “holidays” or there volunteer stays. Some demands may differ from Poon like more income but in some cases it agrees with volunteers as new tourists.


[1] see Callanan and Thomas (2005) p.184

[2] Telephone call with Jennifer Binnewitt, Travelworks, 26.01.2011

[3] telephone call with Jennifer Binnewitt, TravelWorks 26.01.2011

[4] see Callanan and Thomas (2005)

[5] telephone call with Jennifer Binnewitt, TravelWorks 26.01.2011

[6] Travel Daily News (2009)

[7] see Sin (2009), p.480

[8] see Cloke and Perkins quoted by Sin (2009), p.483

[9] Travel Daily News (2008)

[10] see TUI (2010)

[11] see Tourism Watch (2008)

[12] see Travel eguides (2009)

[13] see Callanan and Thomas (2005)

[14] telephone call with Jennifer Binnewitt, TravelWorks 26.01.2011

[15] see Mowforth and Munt (2009), p.127

[16] Mundt (2006) p. 111

[17] Poon (1997) p. 47-53

[18] Poon (1997) p.47-53

Excerpt out of 29 pages


Voluntourism. Intrinsic motivation or just CV building?
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Volunteering, Voluntourism, Instrinsic Motivation, Freiwilligenarbeit, FSJ, Freiwilligen Arbeit, Voluntär, CV, Lebenslauf, Tourismus, Third World Countries, Developing Countries, Volunteer
Quote paper
Stefanie Grothe (Author), 2011, Voluntourism. Intrinsic motivation or just CV building?, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/294710


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