The hypothesis assumed in this research is that, the social media can be an effective tool for motivating students to volunteer for the EAP.
If social media tools are effective tools for volunteering, then some necessary answers that must be discussed in research data collection are that of whether students are making use of social media in general and whether they have a high level of interactivity with these tools.
There are many different theories on why individuals would be motivated to volunteer. In the case of the functional motivation theory, individuals will enrol in volunteering activities because the volunteering activity somehow meets a psychological motivation of the individual at that particular time. Individual will hence connect with the volunteering activity and will continue to stay with the activity as long as their psychological motivation is (Clary & Snyder, 1999). An organization that hence wants to improve or increase recruitment in volunteering should hence appeal to these psychological aspects (Widjaja, 2010). The unidimensional theory on motivation suggests that individuals would be motivated for overlapping interests. They would both be altruistic interests and egoistic interests. According to this model there can be as many as 28 motives for volunteering, ranging from religion to personal reputation of the individual (Cnaan and Goldberg-Glen, 1991). Volunteers will be motivated to volunteer based on overlapping categories (Widjaja, 2010).
The use of social media in motivating people to volunteer can be defined with respect to the social function. According to this function it can be said individuals volunteer because of the way they think volunteering helps strengthen their social interactions (Widjaja, 2010). So a person might volunteer because their friend volunteers or because they are able to meet more social connections (Clary et al, 1998). While people would strengthen social media connectivity when they volunteer, the same concept of social media could be used to increase motivations to serve. Social media tools could be very advantageous in creating information sharing base before volunteering and during volunteering. International students as discussed in the study of Smith et al (2014) al were shown to not be aware of volunteering activities. There was less awareness in volunteering. Local students had a better advantage than international students. Social media tools would be very useful for information sharing. It would also be useful to create better information sources for the students and would expand the magnitude of information sharing. The traditional forms of information sharing would not be able to reach diverse segments of students. In research on volunteer management employment techniques it was found that many volunteer organizations would use social media websites as their primary source of recruitment. Recruiting habits of around 63 organizations were studied (Smith et al, 2014). It was found that a majority of organizations rely on social media websites such as Face book and twitter for recruiting volunteers. Most young adults and student segments have started using social media websites more than ever. The recruiting organization makes use of advertisements on educational boards; they post on university bulletins, colleges and schools. In more current times they make use of social media sites. The volunteer sites attempt to engage existing volunteers and also create a way for the organizations to market their agenda to the volunteer community. There are social share websites where exiting volunteers might talk about their volunteering experience and these would also enhance the volunteer recruitment process (Conroy & Williams, 2014). Research studies also present how it would be possible to increase the social capital for charity by means of social media sharing.
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