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Encyclopedia > Volunteer
Volunteers fit new windows at The Sumac Centre in Nottingham, UK.
Volunteers fit new windows at The Sumac Centre in Nottingham, UK.

A volunteer is someone who serves in a community or for the benefit of natural environment primarily because they choose to do so. Many serve through a non-profit organization – sometimes referred to as formal volunteering, but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group. Because these informal volunteers are much harder to identify, they may not be included in research and statistics on volunteering.[citation needed] Volunteer may refer to one of the following. ... Image File history File links Sumac_01. ... Image File history File links Sumac_01. ... The Sumac Centre is an independent community and social centre in Nottingham, UK. It provides resources, meeting spaces and skills for groups and individuals campaigning for human rights, animal rights, the environment, peace and co-operation world-wide. ... For other uses, see Nottingham (disambiguation). ... Community service refers to service that a person performs for the benefit of his or her local community. ... This article is about the natural environment. ...

By definition, a volunteer worker does not get paid or receive compensation for services rendered.


Motivations and rewards

Each person's motivations will be unique — but will often be a combination of the following: Look up Motivation in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

volunteering for the benefit of others. Some people argue that there are no purely altruistic volunteers – altruism is a common motivation but never the only motivation for sustained commitment to serve – they say there is always some aspect of personal gain or satisfaction. Other people disagree - some people argue that there are purely altruistic volunteers since there is no way to prove otherwise.
Quality of life
"serving community because doing service makes ones own life better — is perhaps the most significant motivation for volunteering. It is often mixed with a good dose of altruism. Included here would be the benefits people get from being with other people, staying active, and above all having a sense of the value of ourselves in society that may not be as clear in other areas of life."[1]
Giving back
many people have in some way benefited from the work of an organization, or more generally, and volunteer to give back.
Sense of duty
some see participation in community as a responsibility that comes with citizenship – in this case they may not describe themselves as volunteers
Religious conviction
Many faiths hold that service to others or the community is a spiritual duty or a means of reaching higher spiritual states. [citation needed]
Being motivated by finances is not generally included within the definition of volunteering. Some organizations are able to pay the expenses of a volunteer, others provide what is essentially a stipend or honorarium or provide an in-kind token of appreciation. For example, a volunteer at a local theater may receive a ticket to a performance if there are unsold tickets. Generally speaking, the higher the stipend, the more difficult it is to claim that a service is volunteering. Experiences can add to career prospects and many employers value volunteering experience.
Volunteering is a good way to meet a lot of different people from other walks of life and it is often easy to make new friends.

For the ethical doctrine, see Altruism (ethics). ... A community is a social group of organisms sharing an environment, normally with shared interests. ... For other uses, see Faith (disambiguation). ... An interpersonal relationship is some relationship or connection between two people. ...


2001 was the International Year of the Volunteer,[2] as designated by the United Nations. Every 5 December is International Volunteer Day,[3] also designated by the United Nations. 2005 was the United Kingdom Year of the Volunteer.[4], National Volunteer week in Australia is the week after the second Sunday in May. UN and U.N. redirect here. ... is the 339th day of the year (340th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Volunteer management

Many organizations (hospitals, food banks, etc.) have a continual need for volunteers. Other high-profile events, such as a marathon, require hundreds or thousands of volunteers for a one-time or annual need. The success of such events has a significant economic impact on the local economy. Thus, there is increasing awareness of the economic importance of volunteers.[citation needed]

This, in turn, has elevated the importance of the volunteer manager for such events, people who formerly may have managed volunteers in addition to other duties but now may be viewed as professionals in the field.[citation needed] This has also increased the need for volunteer management software, e-mail broadcasts, texting and other technological tools, allowing the volunteer manager to register and communicate with large numbers of people who otherwise have no connection to each other.[citation needed]

Common terms

International volunteer
a person who volunteers outside of his or her own country, usually related in some way to a development program. This is normally a longer term commitment but recently volunteer vacation have made this a more casual way of volunteering.
Online volunteer
(virtual volunteer, cyber service, telementor, e-volunteer, cyber volunteer) — a person who contributes time and effort with an organization through an online connection, rather than or in addition to an on site service.
Online volunteers do a variety of tasks, such as translating documents, proofreading books, editing or preparing proposals, designing logos, researching information, developing strategic plans, reviewing budgets, creating web pages, designing flash presentations, moderating online discussion groups and managing other online volunteers. Online volunteers may support organizations in their own community, or entirely remotely (such as Wikipedia).
ICT volunteer
someone who uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a central part of his or her service, or, who advocates for ICT access for under-serviced communities.
MMORPG volunteer
often MMORPGs have Volunteers (or "Vols"), unpaid staff who moderate the game. A Volunteer can perform simple operations such as banning a player from the game, or silencing an abusive player. Volunteers are often used to lighten the workload for the GMs (Game Masters) who usually contribute mainly towards the server based operations (such as server maintenance).
Museum volunteer
many museums have unpaid volunteers as well as paid staff involved in their running. They may act as gallery attendants, work on the collection catalogue, look after the museum shop, etc., as required. Smaller museums are often entirely run by volunteers. See main article at docent.
Youth volunteer
a youth volunteer is when a young person primarily aged 12- 21 years of age do voluntary work that is of benefit to their community. There is a number of national organisations focusing solely on the promotion of youth volunteering as young people are seen as the future. Civil society requires young people to be active citizens and volunteering is seen as key to this.
Peer Health Educator volunteer
involved in supporting or leading health services or programs, usually in the context of a community or outreach program and with an emphasis on providing resources or information.
Responsible volunteering
someone who makes ethical choices and acts in a responsible manner whilst volunteering, minimising their negative impacts and creating postive ones.

This article is about International Development. ... Volunteer vacations are an opportunity for people to make a positive difference in the lives of others or to help improve or contribute to society, culture, or the environment while on vacation. ... Wikipedia (IPA: , or ( ) is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization. ... An image from World of Warcraft, one of the largest commercial MMORPGs as of 2004, based on active subscriptions. ... In the United States (but not in the United Kingdom, where the word is not used), a docent (the word being derived from the Latin word docÄ“re, meaning to teach) is officially defined as a professor or university lecturer, but the term has been expanded to designate the corps... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that states political system) and commercial institutions. ...

Mandatory community service

Main article: Community service

"Mandatory volunteering" includes various forms of community service in which the primary motivator is external to the individual — when people are mandated to serve an authority. (See also indentured servitude) Community service refers to service that a person performs for the benefit of his or her local community. ... An indentured servant (also called a bonded laborer) is a labourer unde from the employer in exchange for an extension to the period of their indenture, which could thereby continue indefinitely. ...

  1. a high school student required to provide a certain number of hours of community service to a nonprofit organization in order to graduate,
  2. a high school or college student engaged in service learning, using a volunteering experience to apply skills learned in the classroom and to meet a requirement to pass the class, or
  3. a person convicted of a misdemeanor being required to provide such community service as part of his or her sentence. Some organizations require members to provide a certain number of community services as well.

In recent years, mandated community service has been on the rise, driven by increasingly cash strapped (and perhaps more humanitarian) correctional systems, and by moves to encourage the notion of 'active citizenship' in youth.[citation needed] Many in the voluntary sector argue that they are expected, often with no additional funding, to pick up these functions from justice and educational systems.[citation needed] Service learning is a successful method of teaching, learning and reflecting that combines academic classroom curriculum with meaningful service, frequently youth service, throughout the community. ...

Controversy exists around the terminology used — 'Mandatory volunteering' is seen as oxymoronic, since definitions of volunteering overwhelmingly include the element of free choice to act. Many opponents of the term also see a threat to the spirit of volunteering if it becomes contaminated with notions of force and punishment. Ironically, there is some indication that the term originated in the voluntary sector itself — the sector now most keen to clarify the difference between volunteering and mandated activity. A term that allows clearer definition is "Mandatory Community Service". Look up oxymoron in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Controversy also exists around some aspects of mandated community service. The effects of forcing some people to serve — on both their future commitment to community and the commitments of others — are largely unknown. Many managers of volunteers note that managing those on mandatory programs is different from managing volunteers, not least because motivation is a key underlying theme in volunteer management, but also because some MCS programming requires elements that may not exist at all in a volunteer program — policing and reporting being notable examples.

Military volunteers

In the armed forces "volunteer" takes on a number of meanings. It can mean that the individual has actually consented to some dangerous mission. However more commonly it means that the officer (usually NCO) has picked you for something unpleasant/onerous/dangerous: "I need three volunteers; you, you and you". Or "dress forward one pace all those who want to volunteer", nearly the whole squad quickly dresses to the rear leaving only the dimmest "dressed forward".[citation needed] NCO may mean: a numerically-controlled oscillator in electronics a non-commissioned officer in the military   This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

See also

Pro bono publico (often shortened to pro bono) is a phrase derived from Latin meaning for the public good. The term is sometimes used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment, as a public service. ... Community organizations are nonprofits that operate within a single local community. ... Hospital volunteers work without regular pay in a variety of health care settings, usually under the supervision of a nurse. ... Hiwi is a German abbreviation. ... A Service club is a type of voluntary organization where members meet regularly for social outings and to perform charitable works either by direct hands-on efforts or by raising money for other organisations. ... A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, see V.F.D.. See also the Firefighter article and its respective sections regarding VFDs in other countries. ... “NGO” redirects here. ... USAID defines private voluntary organizations as tax-exempt, non-profit organizations working in, or intending to become engaged in, international development activities. ...


  1. ^ Volunteer. NFVG. Retrieved on 2007-06-04.
  2. ^ International Year of Volunteers 2001. World Volunteer Web. Retrieved on 2007-05-16.
  3. ^ International Volunteer Day. World Volunteer Web. Retrieved on 2007-05-16.
  4. ^ United Kingdom Year of the Volunteer. Retrieved on 2007-05-16.

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... is the 155th day of the year (156th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st Century. ... May 16 is the 136th day of the year (137th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

Look up volunteer in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

  Results from FactBites:
Volunteer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1028 words)
Some say a volunteer is someone who performs or offers to perform service out of his or her own free will, without payment, usually in support of a non-profit organization, mission-based initiative or community.
Others say the term volunteer can apply to someone who receives a stipend for his or her service, as long as the volunteer is engaged in full-time service and has no other paid job.
An international volunteer is a person who volunteers outside of his or her own country.
volunteer - definition of volunteer in Encyclopedia (311 words)
A volunteer [noun] is a person who performs or offers to perform a service out of his or her own free will, often without payment.
Online volunteers may provide advice, consultancy and perform remote administration tasks for the organisation, usually a charity or non-profit organisation.
An ICT volunteer is someone who is working to foster the implementation and use of Information and Communication Technologies.
  More results at FactBites »



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