Survey Variable: Organisation Recruitment

As with political acts, after asking about involvement with organisations (by donating, volunteering, becoming a member, or holding an unpaid position) the survey asked about requests to get involved (in those same ways). Again, people were asked whether they had received recruitment requests from a range of people or organisations, and their answers are graphed above, using weighted data, in Figure 1.[1] The distributions of answers relating to recruitment to undertake political acts and to get involved with organisations are rather similar. In both cases, generic requests via mass email, social media, or letter (panel A) are the most common, and requests from friends are also relatively common. Half of people indicating that they are asked to get involved with organisations at least occasionally by their friends (panel C). Requests to get involved in groups are more common from campaigners (half say that they received such requests at least sometimes; see panel K) than is the case in relation to political acts (with two in five ever receiving such requests). This is despite the fact that the question on organisation involvement asked separately about requests received from members of organisations that people were already involved in (specifically, political parties, trade unions or professional associations, campaign organisations, and charities; see panels G-J). As with recruitment to political acts, a majority indicate that they never receive requests from family (62.3%, panel B), neighbours (76.3%, panel D), colleagues (70.5%, panel E), and religious organisation members (75.9%, panel F).

Again, we can look at the data in a different way by counting how many types of request to get involved in organisations people receive. As Figure 2 (below, using weighted data) shows, fewer people receive no requests to get involved in organisations (14.5%) than receive no requests to undertake specific political acts (19.8%). Nevertheless, around half of people receive three or fewer requests with any frequency in each case (50.1% in relation to organisations and 56.1% in relation to political acts). A quirk of the organisation recruitment question is that only asked about requests from members of political parties, trade unions or professional associations, campaign organisations, or charities that respondents were already involved in. Respondents who had indicated no involvement with such organisations were not asked whether they received requests from members of them. This allows us to take a rough look at whether rates of recruitment are higher amongst those who are already involved. This is done in Figure 3 (below, also using weighted data), which focuses only on those who were already involved in organisations in some way.

For comparison, panel E of Figure 3 shows requests received from campaigners in organisations that people are not involved in, but only amongst people who indicated that they were not involved in organisations in any way (n = 317). Two-thirds of organisationally disengaged people (66.0%, panel E) never receive requests from any organisations. This is considerably higher than the percentages who never receive requests from members of charities (40.4%, panel D), trade unions or professional associations (30.6%, panel B), and especially political parties (16.9%, panel A) and campaign organisations (16.2%, panel C) amongst people who are already involved in such organisations. This indicates that members of organisations may ‘rationally prospect’ by targeting their recruitment requests towards people who are already involved in their organisations in some way.[2] Focusing on requests from organisations that people aren’t involved in, the percentage of disengaged people (panel E) who never receive recruitment requests is notably higher than the percentage amongst people who are involved in an organisation in some way (41.6%, panel F). In other words, people who are organisationally involved people receive more requests than organisationally uninvolved people from organisations that they are not involved in.

Figure 2. See also Table 2A.
Variable namessc_gr_generic_ir, sc_gr_family_ir,
sc_gr_friend_ir, sc_gr_neighbour_ir,
sc_gr_colleague_ir, sc_gr_membrelorg_ir,
sc_gr_membpolpar_ir,
sc_gr_membtradunprofassoc_ir,
sc_gr_membcampaignorg_ir,
sc_gr_membcharity_ir, sc_gr_campaigner_ir
Number of cases1,405
Number of categories5
Categories to code as missingNone
Cases to code as missingNone
Recoded variable namesc_gr_count
Number of cases1,405
Number of categories12
New and old categoriesCategories 1 (‘Once a year or less’), 2
(‘2-3 a year’), 3 (‘4+ times a year’),
4 (‘Monthly+’) on each of the
original variables were counted
as 1 (i.e. indicating that the
form of recruitment has been
received at some point), with
category 0 (‘Never’) counted as
zero. As such, 0 on the new
variable indicates that no forms
of recruitment have ever been
received whilst 11 indicates that all
11 forms of recruitment have been
received with some frequency.
Details of the original and recoded organisation recruitment variables.

[1] The weighted and unweighted numbers behind Figure 1 can be found in Table 1A.

[2] See Schlozman, Brady and Verba, Unequal and Unrepresented.

Published by joegreenwoodhau

Joe Greenwood-Hau is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Government & Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde, where he works on the Capital, Privilege and Political Participation in Britain and Beyond project.

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