Author: MariamJaparidze

24.09.2018 11:30

The World of Volunteering

The World of Volunteering

The World of Volunteering

 

Volunteerism Through the History

Since the beginning of the history, volunteerism creates changes and the development of the mankind. Even nowadays altruistic activities aren't strange to anybody. Generally, we call it volunteerism. Probably you’ve heard about it or have been the volunteer yourself at least once. If we discuss volunteerism we have to explain its definition and meaning. One of the examples could be the past events when missionaries traveled to different countries to spread their religion and help people in the poor countries.

 

Volunteerism Explained

Almost every European country has its own understanding of volunteerism, which is regulated by relevant normative legislation. General Assembly of United Nations defines volunteerism as "an activity undertaken out of free will, for the general public good and where monetary reward is not the principal motivating factor. "

Volunteerism is often perceived as donations of the time or labor, but it could also include donations of the funds or goods, and each of these forms vary widely along several dimensions.

 

Diversity of Volunteerism

Volunteering activities take place in settings that have different degrees of structure and formality. Such activities may be informal, occurring in a casual, unstructured way. Sometimes they may be organized, but not performed within a formally structured group. Also, both the activity and the group may be structured and formally organized. To illustrate, volunteer activities range from a “neighbor helping another neighbor”, to a group of people organizing a cleanup of a city square. Formal volunteer groups, such as UN Volunteers or Red Cross,  performing formally specified functions.

There are several types of volunteerism. One is a service-based volunteering. It provides manpower and resources to a social service organization, in order to complement the practitioners. Some examples include befriending and mentoring programmes for youths-at-risk, and caregiver support. Skills-based volunteering is where professionals use their talents, experiences, and resources to strengthen the capabilities of social service organizations. Social service organizations may not have the access to resources or the expertise to manage corporate functions such as communications, website design, and fundraising. Yet, these functions are instrumental in helping them operate more efficiently and effectively. Volunteering at singular activities such as Flag Days, fundraising events, or bringing service users for an outing, are the examples of events-based volunteering.  

 

In Popular Culture

The role of volunteering has become a topic of public interest. Experience shows us that volunteerism has no limits concerning the age. For instance, 106-year-old Betty Lowe has been a girl guide since 1919. At that time she was only 11. According to Jimmy Doolittle, "nothing is as strong as the heart of a volunteer." Betty has also been a volunteer at a hospital through the Royal Voluntary Service for the past 40 years. David Cameron awarded Betty with a “Point of a Light award”, which recognizes those who make an exceptional difference for the community.

Talking about volunteering always reminds me of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia and its flood in June of 2015. Solidarity is the best word to describe that situation. Hundreds of people came out to the streets, to help the affected families and clean the city's streets after June 13’s deadly flood. Examples of such unity are rare. Males and females, young and old, all gathered in the city center and started cleaning up the mud-drenched streets. Everyone did their part.

Also, there is a Lighter example from Great Britain, about how volunteering can move a nation. A team of 8000 volunteers planted poppies near the Tower of London for an art installation "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red", marking hundred years since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the First World War. It was visited by more than 5 million people and turned Tower of London into the most popular England attraction of 2014.

 

Reasons and Analysis

The main question is why people volunteer? Is altruism the primary motivation, or do people volunteer to be later rewarded? As Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others". Studies found that there are two types of reasons for volunteering: First is a satisfaction derived from helping others and second is a direct personal benefit independent of the extent to which others are helped. People feel that volunteerism complements formal education in teaching the skills that are required for the job market, such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, management, creativity, communication and negotiation. This is especially important given the current global economic downturn, where competition for jobs is fierce. These general benefits produce primary motivation for volunteering.  According to UN's statistics, volunteering corresponds to a 27% higher chance of employment. The effect is especially strong for people without a high school diploma or those who live in rural areas. Every year, more than 6,500 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 are mobilized, Representing 65% of all the online volunteers.

There are undoubtedly some benefits for the individual and corporate participation. Individually people may have additional reasons for partaking in volunteerism. For some, it might be a positive charge, a getaway from their stressful everyday life. Volunteerism changes an outlook on life, and make you reflect on the problems you never considered because it never affected you personally. It creates a different perspective on life.

Volunteerism can also be extremely beneficial for the corporate world. Huge companies will often partake in those activities not only out of good will but also to boost brand image and show the responsible character their company revolves around. Thus attracting people’s attention and creating a loyal customer fan base.

 

The conclusion of Thoughts And Benefits

The conclusion is that nowadays there are many ways to become a volunteer. Starting with local and international organizations, (Red Cross, save the children etc.) ending with the disposable projects. For example, the Tokyo Olympic Games organization is accepting applications for volunteers from September 26th. The administration announced that volunteers are "the face" of the Olympic and Paralympic Games of Tokyo in 2020. According to them, the success of the Games depends on their community’s contribution. People are welcome to passionately take part in the success of the Games.

As we see volunteerism is an important and increasingly popular mechanism for young people to bring about positive change in the society. It’s becoming a relevant mechanism, to engage young people in global peace and sustainable human development. Any contribution of your time, no matter how small, will improve someone’s life and give you a possibility to develop new skills or improve existing experience and knowledge. We all have different abilities that can be extremely useful. There is a person waiting for your help! You don't have to be rich or perfect. You just have to care. Let's volunteer and make the world a better place!  

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