The Art of Volunteerism

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February 20, 2024

Writer: Iris Salvante
Moderator: Richardson Mojica
Creatives: Brigida Candelaria

 

 

The world may not be perfect, but kindness makes it easier to live. 

One powerful act and art of kindness is Volunteerism. It manifests social responsibility and community transformation through time, skills, and resources offered free or in-kind by volunteers.

It was said that Volunteersim started in medieval times when there were crises that urge to help the poor and sick. From then on, organizations such as the YMCA and Rotary Club were born. Now, the relentless influence of technology has also brought the selfless initiatives virtually– extending its impact to new audiences and beyond local communities.

Through cumulative efforts, volunteerism usually responds to issues such as climate-related disasters, war, diseases, poverty and social inequalities. These works would have not continued without the support and valuable time of those who participated voluntarily.

Whether it’s fundraising or an awareness campaign, let’s explore how volunteerism becomes a breathing ground in a world of challenges and a cold place of indifference.

Why do we volunteer?

Researchers have done numerous studies about the motivation of volunteers. One popular theory is the Theory of Altruism or selfless motivation because of empathy. Some psychologist believes it’s possible while some refuse to accept “pure altruism” as motivation. 

Either way, here are the 5 primary motivations for volunteering identified over the years.

  • Values- When someone volunteers in response to their personal values or humanitarian concerns. One good example is joining a religious volunteer activity to satisfy your religious value for charity and good deeds. 
  • Community concern- When one participates to help their own community. During the pandemic, a lot of volunteer groups came up with community pantries to provide a source of food for people who were financially struggling in those times.
  • Esteem Enhancement- When your motivation is to feel good about yourself. As humans, we look for self-fulfillment by doing something worthwhile and that make us connected to others.
  • Understanding- When one volunteers to explore or understand other people or cultures.
  • Personal Development- Volunteering to gain skills, meet new people and widen your horizon in life. 

What are the benefits of Volunteerism?

In a 1998 study, in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, psychologists found out those people whose volunteer experiences meet their motivation are likely to volunteer longer. Furthermore, in another study, intrinsic motivation works well rather than extrinsic motivation, which means doing what you enjoy or deeply believe is more fulfilling than external achievements. Other than self-fulfillment, what else do we get from volunteering?

  • Autonomy- Liberty to choose your advocacy, which organization, and the kind of help you want to share.
  • Learning new skills and competencies- Volunteerism exposes you to many opportunities. It may mean free labor but it can hone your talent or skills just like when you’re working for a job, but with less pressure.
  • Connection to others- Working with others in a non-government organization entails social interaction and outreach, which can add personal growth and may foster friendships among volunteers. This relates to the health benefits of doing volunteer work. Social connection reduces stress and makes community activities that encourage physical movements more fun.
  • Impact on the community- Lastly, the best benefit is its impact on the beneficiaries or community- the primary goal of a non-profit organization. Happy and motivated volunteers can help boost donations, drive successful campaigns and their work strengthens communities, especially after a crisis.

 

Conclusion

Volunteerism has become an avenue of essential aid in humanitarian causes and a great support to raise and answer issues that block social equality. Motivated or rewarded, with healthy boundaries, volunteers make change possible for others and consequently themselves.

Session Questions:

  1. What do you enjoy the most in your volunteer work?
  2. How does volunteerism change you?
  3. An advocacy you won’t mind actively supporting for a long time.

 

References:

 

  1. Bloomerang Blog (2024). What Is Volunteerism? A Guide to the History & Benefits. Bloomerang. https://bloomerang.co/blog/what-is-volunteerism-a-guide-to-the-history-benefits/

 

  1. Ambrose, I. (2023). The Art of Kindness: Volunteerism. Medium. https://medium.com/arts-o-magazine/the-art-of-kindness-edaaaa27c986

 

  1. Winerman, L. (2006}. Helping Others, Helping Ourselves. American Psychological Association-Cover Story. https://www.apa.org/monitor/dec06/helping

 

  1. Cramoysan, S. (2023). The Psychological Benefits of Volunteering. The Positive Psychology People. https://www.thepositivepsychologypeople.com/the-psychological-benefits-of-volunteering/

 

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