In the past century, the increasing scale of daily life has weakened and changed the ways residents feel attached to their village. A general and all-encompassing village attachment has evolved into less involving, more selective and partial forms of attachment. Concerns have been raised as to whether these changing forms affect volunteering in village life. In this paper we distinguish between general and selective forms of attachment to the village – social, cultural and environmental attachment – and explore their effects on local volunteering. In line with the theory of ‘s/elective belonging’, we hypothesise that a general attachment to the village predicts high levels of volunteering in village life, whereas selective forms of attachment only predict volunteering in activities related to the specific form of attachment. Based on survey data on over 5000 rural residents, the results show that general attachment only predicts volunteering to a limited extent and that social attachment does so best. Thus, a loosening general attachment to the village may not weaken community activity as is often feared. Instead, it is social attachment that motivates and facilitates volunteering, including among in-migrants. Efforts to strengthen local communities should therefore focus on enhancing social relations between villagers.