What Is Volunteering?

What is Volunteering?

By D Nyambu

What comes to mind when you hear of the word ‘Volunteering’?  What is volunteering?

Volunteering is an eager desire to do some good through the contribution of time, energy and skills and yet not expecting any sort of payment or reimbursement in return for the effort.

What kind of people volunteer?

Are there special kind of people who can do volunteer work?  Certainly not!  Anyone from all ages, race or creed can volunteer.  Volunteer work ranges from helping with feeding the children in a home or orphanage to working in IT department in an office.

Why Volunteer?

Why would anyone volunteer their services and not get paid at all?  Young people just out of school may volunteer their time and energy in order to gain on the job experience, enhance their careers or even learn a new skill that will enable them enter a job market with ease!

Older folks on the other hand may volunteer in order to keep themselves busy, give back to the community, perform some initial research before commencing a new business, and polish their skills before re-entering the job market or simply as a way of networking!

What is the Value of Volunteer Work?

Can volunteer work be measured?  After all there is no payment or reimbursement for volunteer effort.  Well, numerous research work has shown that volunteering has a very high economic value!  One such research showed that 1.2 million volunteers contributed to about 379,291,000 hours over a 12 month period which was equal to 182,351 people working on a 40 hour week full time basis.  This is part of the true Value of Volunteer Work!

Volunteering by Social Workers

Volunteering by Social Workers

The real value of volunteering, though, is the number of lives that are impacted through volunteering effort.  This includes cleaner environments for communities through the effort of volunteer city cleaners, better health and sanitation for women and children through the work of volunteer social workers, improved knowledge and life skills for children and youth through the efforts of volunteer teachers and the list goes on and on.

Indeed, volunteers provide vital input in organizations and societies worldwide.  They may be found giving their time and energy formally through these organizations or informally by way of provision of health care for their relatives, the sick and elderly among friends and strangers.

This has given rise to volunteer-ship programs in non profits and volunteer organizations that Connect Volunteers with the needs of the society further streamlining the volunteer effort.

Volunteering is a critical component of our society today.  It not only has impact on the well being of the communities receiving the service but it also does have a great implication in the economic performance of a nation.

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