Volunteering

In the course section “Volunteering” you learned a lot about motives of volunteers, psychological functions of voluntary engagement and its potential benefits for the active people.

pvrenken, pixabay

An example may illustrate in which way volunteering might provide positive effects:

Click here to read the example

Peter works at a municipality in a medium-sized town in Austria. His job is mostly administration routine and does not offer lots of challenges. Peter is divorced, single, his two children are grown-up. His son works in Germany, while his daughter just started a semester abroad in the United States. Peter is a sports fan. When he was younger he was actively playing football and tennis, later he did not miss a single home match of his favourite football club where he went with some friends. Afterwards they went to a pub and had lively discussions all evening. But lately Peter is feeling a little tired, depressed and demotivated. He does not like to go out, cancels appointments and mostly spends his free time at home watching TV or playing computer games. During the last six months he gained five kilos of weight.

One day a neighbour volunteering in asylum seekers aid tells Peter that he is building up a football team for unaccompanied minor refugees. They need a coach, and the neighbour thinks that Peter could be a qualified person for this voluntary job. At first Peter feels reluctant about the idea but the neighbour convinces him to join him to the playing field next to the refugees’ accommodation at the following weekend. When facing the young people’s enthusiasm about the new sports team Peter agrees to his neighbour’s suggestion and starts to share his football skills with them. After a while Peter spends every Saturday and one evening during the week coaching his team. Besides he gets in touch with other volunteers supporting the refugees and builds up new friendships in this community.

Self Reflection

The example shows that a person can benefit from voluntary activities even when he was not motivated to volunteer in the beginning.

But what about you? Which motives drove you or still drive you to volunteer? Please consider the following motives:

  • Social integration
  • Learning opportunities
  • Gaining qualifications
  • Need for recognition
  • Fun and adventure
  • Need for Reciprocity

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Course Syllabus