The relationship between confidence in charitable organizations and volunteering revisited

R.H.F.P. Bekkers, W. Bowman

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Confidence in charitable organizations (charitable confidence) would seem to be an important prerequisite for philanthropic behavior. Previous research relying on cross-sectional data has suggested that volunteering promotes charitable confidence and vice versa. This research note, using new longitudinal panel data from the Netherlands, contradicts the suggestion generated by previous research. Volunteers indeed have more charitable confidence, but changes in one are not related to changes in the other. The authors identify generalized social trust and altruistic values as omitted variables that produce the previously observed relationship. The practical implication of this finding is that a decline in charitable confidence is unlikely to reduce volunteering. The theoretical implication is that volunteering is symbolic rather than instrumental. © 2009 SAGE Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)884-897
Number of pages14
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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