Non-governmental organizations frequently rely on volunteer labor for institutional survival ranging from assisting with a specific initiative or short-term internships to long-term organizational maintenance and strategic planning. While the dynamics of volunteerism are relatively well-researched in North America and Europe, considerably less research has been done on volunteerism within the developing world. This research utilized a qualitative methodology involving facilitated focus groups to identify organizational factors which sustained long-term volunteerism in Latin America in five selected national programs of Habitat for Humanity International in Latin America and the Caribbean. Elements which discouraged long-term local volunteerism included contradictory organizational assumptions about the nature of the volunteer, relying on guilt as a motivation for service, and an over-reliance on technology. Factors which sustained long-term local volunteerism included face-to-face communication and a strong inter-connection between the voluntary service and other sectors of an individual’s life.
Jantzi, T. (with Rojas, F., Kroeker-Falconi, C., and Habitat for Humanity International). (2008). Volunteerism and NGOs in Latin America: Elements that enhanced long-term volunteer retention(CSD Research Report No. 08-01). St. Louis, MO: Washington Unversity, Center for Social Development.