Motivation for Participating in Voluntary Activities: Hooking Citizens into Water Quality Monitoring

By Sanna Peltonen, Tommi Siljamäki and Miia Lammi.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In Finland, the gathering of information about water systems has been heavily dependent on public organizations. However, decreasing resources have emphasized a need to find new cost-effective ways to produce information. The monitoring strategy of the Ministry of the Environment in Finland has defined the strategic targets for the gathering, storage and utilization of environmental data up to the year 2020. In this strategy the voluntary work of citizens is raised as a potential resource in supplementing the official water quality monitoring. At the moment, the involvement of citizens is still in its infancy. There is an urgent need for creating the deeper understanding of citizens’ motives in participating in voluntary pro-environmental activities. An online survey was used for generating new understanding of why people participate in water quality monitoring activities, what motivates them, what kind of experiences people have from the current activities, and what kind of barriers they face.
A cluster analysis with a K-means technique was used in order to identify segments of volunteers. The criteria for segments were the motivational factors as well as the experiences of participation. Three clusters of volunteers were identified: practical troopers, active communicators and communal nature enjoyers. The findings of the survey clearly indicate that there is a surprising diversity of the motives and the reasons for involving volunteers in water quality monitoring activities. This motivational diversity creates a fertile ground for developing new ways and means to get voluntary citizens involved into water quality monitoring.

Keywords: Water Quality Monitoring, Motives, Voluntary Work

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 697.622KB).

Sanna Peltonen

Researcher, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Western Finland Design Centre Muova, Aalto University, Vaasa, Finland

Tommi Siljamäki

Designer, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Western Finland Design Centre MUOVA, Aalto University, VAASA, Finland

Miia Lammi

Development Manager, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Western Finland Design Centre MUOVA, Aalto University, VAASA, Finland