Volunteering Has Been Identified as a Significant Contribution to the Development of Social Capital or Civil Society. Should Non Government Organisations Feel a Responsibility to Maximise Volunteer Opportunities

Topics: Sociology, Civil society, Social capital, Social philosophy, Volunteering, Volunteer / Pages: 7 (1600 words) / Published: Mar 14th, 2013
Volunteering has been identified as a significant contribution to the development of social capital or civil society. Should non government organisations feel a responsibility to maximise volunteer opportunities? Why?


Volunteering is defined as "any activity in which time is given freely to benefit another person, group, or organization" (Wilson, 2000). It is often mentioned in the context of social capital. Researchers believe that volunteering has contribution to the development of social capital so that it produces social and economic benefits to society. Beside this, volunteering also brings about benefits to volunteers themselves. Therefore, non government organizations (NGO) should have responsibility to promote and maximize volunteer opportunities. This essay aims to analysis this point of view.

What is volunteering? There is a broad range of definitions describing the concept of volunteering. Many definitions of volunteering are used in research, creating confusion for readers and researchers (Pereiwskyj and Warburton, 2007). The definition of volunteering varies from researcher to researcher, from organization to organization, and from country to country. Regarding who or what is considered a volunteer, according to Justin Davis Smith (2000), volunteering takes different forms and meanings in different contexts. Although volunteering has a variety of definitions, there are some core characteristics which constitute a voluntary activity. First, voluntary activities should not be undertaken primarily for financial gain. Voluntary action is not rewarded with a wage or salary. Some would argue that only purely altruistic behavior should be considered as volunteering. Others think that there is no pure altruism behavior so that all volunteering contains an element of exchange and reciprocity. Hence, some definitions allow volunteers receive reward in some way, either non-materially, through the provision of

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