Although volunteering is a concept that is frequently encountered in daily life and business life, it is a term where it is of great importance to know what the exact equivalent is. So what is volunteering?
In fact, the principle of volunteering, which is learned from a very young age, seems to be a concept directly related to non-governmental organizations as the age progresses. On the other hand, we will examine in detail the concept of volunteering, which basically covers many areas of life, and what volunteer work means.
What is Volunteering?
Volunteering, in its simplest definition, can be explained as undertaking a task without expecting any reward. The person who takes this responsibility is called “volunteer”. Volunteers can engage in activities for the benefit of their own lives, the lives of their loved ones and the community in which they belong.
They can also carry out these activities individually, depending on an official or private institution or organization or completely independently. Volunteer efforts can be made on any subject imaginable.
These issues often appear as meeting the needs of the needy or eliminating the basic reasons that lead to the emergence of needs. Volunteering, which is a versatile concept, includes not only human life, but also different fields of study that can focus on the life of all living things, in short, all life.
For example, the voluntary work carried out for the protection of the habitats of animals, the activities carried out for the reforestation of the forest areas destroyed by the fire, and the voluntary donations that have become a holiday tradition are examples in this sense.
When Did the Concept of Volunteerism First Appear in History?
Now that we have answered the question of what is volunteering, we can focus on the period in which this concept was first used. The concept of “volunteer” has a spiritual aspect as can be understood from its word origin.
It is thought that this concept derives from the word “voluntaire”, which was used to describe civilians working for military service in emergency situations in France until 1750. The word Voluntaire is based on the adjective “Latin voluntarius”, which means the free will of the individual in Latin.
However, when it comes to the 19th century, it is seen that the concept of volunteering has reached a point close to its current scope. Of course, the share of voluntary work that started in the USA in the early 19th century and carried out to help people in need is quite large.
On the other hand, it can be argued that volunteering first started to institutionalize after the First World War. Accordingly, the international volunteering efforts organized by two pacifists, Pierre Ceresole and Hubert Parris, in order to renovate a village damaged in the war, played a role in the concept of volunteering to reach an international and institutional dimension.
After this movement, Ceresole and Parris initiated various institutions to initiate an international volunteer service program for young people, with a focus on young people to establish intercultural friendships. Similar developments took place after the Second World War, and many international volunteering programs were initiated to heal the wounds of war, benefiting from past volunteering activities.
Voluntary activities focused on eliminating the damage caused by the war, shifted to the social care area over time and focused on the needs of the elderly and disabled care. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was the first transnational institution to take an active role in the field of International Voluntary Service.
What are the Types of Volunteering?
Now you know the answers to the questions about what is volunteering, how has the historical development of volunteering been? So how many different types of volunteering are there?
1. Formal and Informal Volunteering
As the name suggests, the type of volunteering carried out under an official or private institution / organization is called official volunteering, or in other words, formal volunteering. On the other hand, volunteering activities conducted independently of any institution or organization are defined as non-formal volunteering, that is, informal volunteering.
2. Permanent or Discontinuous Volunteering
The type of volunteering undertaken on a long-term and regular basis by people working as volunteers is called continuous volunteering. The form of volunteering where volunteers provide services only according to need is called discontinuous volunteering or short-term volunteering.
3. International Volunteering
Volunteer activities undertaken by volunteers towards problems outside their own country are called international volunteering.
4. Online Volunteering
Voluntary activities carried out through the internet environment are also considered as online volunteering.
Providing short-term support to a volunteer work by carrying out simple actions such as sending donations via SMS is also within the scope of micro-volunteering.
6. Corporate Social Responsibility
Official volunteering activities carried out by companies and for-profit organizations are called corporate social responsibility.
What are the Social and Individual Benefits of Volunteer Studies?
Volunteer work contributes significantly to developing individuals’ sense of responsibility. For example, volunteer work has great effects on people’s being more sensitive to themselves and their environment, empathizing, developing communication skills, and respecting all other beings that make up our world.
On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that volunteering activities have a social dimension. Accordingly, it is possible to say that voluntary work has many benefits such as the development of social awareness in the society, the increase of entrepreneurship, the strengthening of social relations and the encouragement of the society at the point of finding solutions to eliminate social problems.