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Volunteerism according to Oxford Dictionary is the practice of using volunteers, especially in community services. There is a difference between being a volunteer and commercial employment. In the case of volunteer work, it is a choice where an individual commits to giving her time, skills, and sometimes resources for the community’s wellbeing without any monetary benefits.

Here the question arises about why people volunteer. The biggest reason is primarily religious motivation. Every religion and especially Islam promises the highest rewards for charity work, and it is considered as a highly demanded virtuous act after faith. A true believer makes all efforts to contribute positively to the community. Another social reason to become a volunteer comes from the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” which explains the model of human needs starting from food, safety and socialization to self-esteem and self-actualization. People move towards volunteer work as a part of their self-esteem and self-actualization to fulfil their inner desire to make some positive change in others’ life.

There can be many other reasons for people to do volunteer work which include gaining experience in their lives and making personal connections for their professional goals. Sometimes volunteerism happens as a part of corporate social responsibility where corporate ask their employees to engage in social work in their respective operational areas. In the case of students, volunteer work benefits them in university admissions, and this also helps them to understand the practical modalities of any fieldwork. There is nothing wrong with any of these motivation factors as in all cases a volunteer is putting efforts for a purpose and if in that process, he/she gains anything in terms of social engagement or professional experience benefits, it is very well appreciated around the world.

Mostly volunteer work starts from home. The famous saying charity begins home holds always true and here at home volunteerism can be in the form of in-house mental counselling, giving a friendly shoulder to solve others’ problems and sometimes supporting others with financial resources. In the next stage, volunteers try to join any Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) which they believe doing good work at the grass-root level. Here in these organizations, a volunteer puts effort into the grander purpose which is to serve the community. In return, a volunteer gets inner happiness when she finds her efforts are making a positive impact in anyone’s life.

Now what happens in the real world is a bit complicated. Volunteers join only with spirit to work at the community level where they can support the people in need and organizational setup in NGOs are designed to support individual motivations. These NGOs provide ample ground and resources in reaching needful sectors of society. They provide the volunteers with all the necessary appreciation, certificates and social recognition which can help them to put more effort and be successful in their personal life as well. These organizations do understand that community service is not just helping the poor, but it includes helping youth and other sectors of society in their worldly objectives like university admissions, supporting jobs etc.

However, certain organizations also exist where their management perspective conflicts with the volunteers’ expectations. In such an organization, management often has objectives to promote the management team only and this leads to creating tasks, events and making promotional stuff that is not in line with the volunteer’s aspiration who want to work for the real people in need. In these types of NGOs, volunteers get directives to do what the organization is asking them to do, and they end up working to fulfil office holders’ aspirations and targets. This often discourages volunteers, and they sometimes decide to disassociate themselves from these NGOs. This is a tragedy that a person who is self-motivated to help others gets away from a very high potential setup just due to conflicting management values.

In summary, volunteerism as a noble act drives around human psychological needs and our religion encourages us to do welfare for others. It is rewarding in terms of human happiness in this life as well as hereafter. An organization using volunteers should help them in their joining reasons and make all efforts in supporting the community development in every sector of society.

1 thought on “Volunteerism”

  1. Love the way it has been explained to bring some decision making thoughts, when there is a need to volunteer with all your abilities to spread comfort and happiness around.

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