WHAT IS VOLUNTEERISM AND WHY?


In a nutshell


- Volunteerism is a free choice
- Volunteering implies certain responsibilities and commitment
- Volunteering is not one size fits all (international, par time, flexible, occasional, informal, leisure, religious, service delivery etc)
- Volunteering as vehicle for change
- Volunteering is collaborative, respectful and values driven
- Volunteering is a giving/receiving
- Volunteering breaks down barrier


There are actually many definitions on volunteerism and one of the most comprehensive defines it as 'Any activity which involves spending time, unpaid, doing something which aims to benefit someone (individuals or groups) other than or in addition to close relatives, or benefit the environment'. (Commission on the Future of Volunteerism, UK)

Although fully endorsing the key principles enshrined in this definition, ENGAGE believes that at the end of the day, there is no a real definition but infinite different ways of living and practices what we normally refer as Volunteerism.
In short, it is up to you deciding how to shape up your volunteering experience.

ENGAGE believes that it depends on the single individual to decide how to experience it and practice volunteerism and service. Of course there are some key tenants or principles that define what volunteerism is and what volunteerism is not but then it is up to the commitment, creativity and availability of each individual to find their own way towards the realization of the volunteering based society.

Why volunteering?
ENGAGE considers volunteerism as platform for the promotion of cohesion. Volunteerism plays a significant role in forging relationships among citizens, helping local communities to become better places to live and prosper. Ultimately volunteerism is also a fantastic opportunity that helps the volunteers themselves in finding a role in the society.
Volunteering is a tremendous instrument for empowering people, equipping them to become responsible, committed citizens who have a space and voice in the society.

Volunteers are not heroes or better persons simply because they do spend time helping out other people. Not at all. Volunteers do not search for attention or visibility to highlight their egos, they just simply decide to act and do something for the others. For this reason, volunteering is also about reciprocity: the volunteers take back and receive a lot while they give.

Who should volunteer?
The incredible thing is that there is no age bar for those genuinely interested to volunteer. Most commonly, volunteerism is thought to be an activity only and exclusively targeting youth. There is nothing more mistaken than this pre-conception. Volunteerism should be rather considered as something to be embraced by all, regardless of age, economic conditions or creed.

Elders or retired persons as well youth should equally take part in shaping up the volunteering inspired society. ENGAGE actively bridges the gaps between generations, promoting a new intergenerational partnership at local community level. Volunteerism will be promoted also among the beneficiaries because they can be themselves a role model for others. In this way ENGAGE promotes volunteerism as an inclusive platform that can reach out different strata of the society.