The term volunteering is sometimes thought to be synonymous with such works such as philanthropy and self-sacrifice therefore it implies that it requires a lot of dedication and more importantly it should be a conception of the heart. Although many perceive volunteering as an activity unique to people like the late mother Theresa of Calcutta, volunteering offers a perfect opportunity for responsible individuals in the society to give back to a society that has provided so much for them. It is an opportunity that should not be viewed as a punishment or as an easy way to make the resume more pleasing to employers but as a way of serving the general community. With this background it is however important to actually define or expound on the actual meaning and implications of volunteering.
Volunteering is performing an activity in a community or an institution without the expectations of being compensated in terms of wages or any other material gain. Although different people do volunteer work for many reasons the general perception is that volunteering should involve offering services to the needy without expecting any gain. However some people still offer their services without expecting any monetary gains but rather expect to gain through the acquired experience and exposure. Perhaps the best example is in the current job market that is marred by stiff competition that most people prefer to volunteer in companies before their land a job or they are summoned for interviews. However a question arises as to whether volunteering with the motive of gaining exposure and experience is volunteering after all.
Volunteering should be services rendered to the needy members of the society. For instance a person can choose to volunteer in a children’s home or a church or during a national disaster. During hurricanes where people lose their homes people volunteer by offering to distribute foodstuffs to the needy or offering counseling services for free. Volunteering is a chance for the community to come together for a common course and this is especially important in a century where people have become too busy and too cautious even to know the next door neighbor. Individuals in a community might volunteer to clean up their environment. Apart from the fact that the environment will be clean the people will also have the chance of bonding with each other and making new friends and acquaintances. Many large companies organize volunteering sessions for their employees as part of their corporate responsibility portfolio and it also gives the employees a chance for team building.
The 21st century has seen the erosion of communities in the name of being busy. Perhaps volunteering is one of the ways to bring back the communal aspect to humanity. Offering services with the aim of helping lift some load off the shoulders of needy members of the society is very rewarding. Furthermore people should always be ready to respond when called upon in times of crisis to help especially during disasters when the government alone cannot handle.
Volunteering may lead to exposure and gain of experience but the gains should not be the prime motivation. For instance when a person offers their services to a company that does not need them in the first place just to gain exposure should not be considered as volunteering. Volunteering should be done to the needy and it should be able to add value to the needy.