Understanding the Motivations and Satisfactions of Volunteers to Improve the Effectiveness of Citizen Science Programs

<div><p>Citizen science is a useful approach for conducting scientific research; however, an understanding of the motivations, satisfactions, and other aspects of volunteers’ psychology is essential for conservation scientists wishing to mobilize this resource. We tested psychometric instruments for assessing the motivations, satisfactions, and advocacy role of volunteers with the Second Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP2). Data were collected through stakeholder and volunteer surveys, and focus groups with the program's management. Qualitative and quantitative data analysis included content analysis, statistical tests of internal consistency, and factor analysis. An inventory, the Environmental Volunteer Functions Inventory (EVFI), was tested for assessing volunteer motivations along with scales for assessing volunteer satisfaction and level of advocacy. These scales revealed that volunteers in SABAP2 are satisfied with the program and exhibit behaviors suggesting they act as advocates for the program. Insights and a platform for adaptive management are provided for managers of the social dimensions of citizen science and other conservation programs.</p></div>