This paper responds to the question of how volunteers persist in volunteering. The geographies of voluntarism have explored patterns and motivations for volunteering, but a gap remains to understand how people persist in volunteering. This gap is crucial to address if voluntary sector projects are to be sustainable by retaining volunteers. This paper questions how volunteers persist in volunteering in a faith-based context through volunteers’ narratives from a church food poverty project ‘Lunch’. It contributes to two key agendas in the geographies of religion – faith as performed in people’s daily lives and faith-based organisations – because volunteering was a way for Lunch volunteers to act out their faith. To understand Lunch volunteers’ persistence, this paper utilises affect theory to draw out from their faith-based narratives how volunteers are affected by their experiences; how volunteering could mean more to volunteers than what was represented; and how fleeting moments could be as significant as ongoing experiences. Overall, bringing the geographies of religion and voluntarism together, this paper argues that persistence in volunteering is a continual process of motivation, action and reflection in which factors from the past, present and anticipated future feed into volunteers’ motivations to persist in volunteering or not.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Social and Cultural Geography on 19/06/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14649365.2019.1633685
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FunderFunded by the Economic and Social Research Council, grant code GEOG SC3315
- affect theory
- food poverty
- geographies of religion
- geographies of voluntarism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Geography, Planning and Development