Informal, Unorganized Volunteering

  • Christopher J. Einolf
  • Lionel Prouteau
  • Tamara Nezhina
  • Aigerim R. Ibrayeva


Informal volunteering, or helping individuals in a way not coordinated by an organization, is the most common type of human helping behavior but one of the least studied. The psychological motives for informal volunteering are similar to those for formal volunteering, but income and socio-economic status do not affect informal volunteering. Informal volunteering is common in both wealthy and poor countries, and welfare state service provision does not crowd out informal volunteering. Little is known about the individual and social benefits of informal volunteering, and the state of knowledge is not yet complete enough to inform policy. However, using existing informal helping networks can make development and other projects more effective. Future research should collect better data on informal volunteering, particularly longitudinal and comparative data.

This chapter accepts the set of definitions in the Handbook Appendix. Informal volunteering is defined as unpaid, voluntary work/volunteering not coordinated by an organization or institution.


Social Capital Volunteer Work Empathic Concern Voluntary Sector Social Indicator Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Einolf
    • 1
  • Lionel Prouteau
    • 2
  • Tamara Nezhina
    • 3
  • Aigerim R. Ibrayeva
    • 4
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.France
  3. 3.Russia
  4. 4.Kazakhstan

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