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Volunteerism & people

It is taken from the term volunteering. Volunteering comes from the verb, volunteer which means choosing to act in recognition of someone in need without expecting financial or any other monetary gain. The motive of volunteering in the perspective of the doer is an act aimed at the betterment of the life of someone else without expecting to be paid. Volunteer can be as defined people who act out of their own free will, irrespective of their standing in the society, to work without pay. All volunteers have a goal driving their actions.

The goals vary from person to person depending on the nature of their actions. People may choose to volunteer because of their morality, having some sense of personal achievement, or as a strategic plan for career advancement. So from this, volunteers may be college students, employees in commercial organizations or non profit organization, interns looking for experience in organizations. This means that volunteering may be in a formal or informal venture that is someone may volunteer through activities that are organized by a community, or big organizations dedicated to volunteerism.

In the informal part, volunteering may involve individuals helping one another in a community in a wide range of activities such as baby sitting for friends or helping the elderly in the community. Volunteers therefore may work side by side with paid staff of an organization by assisting them or completing what has been started by such organizations (Brody, R. 2004). Another level of volunteering may involve individuals traveling from their countries of origin to other countries, mostly to developing countries, to go and help fight against poverty and foster development initiatives.

Such people are referred to as international volunteers. This is the most recognized kind of volunteerism in the world today. Other form of volunteerism is what was realized in the liberation wars in colonized countries in the fight against liberation. Many people sacrificed their individuality, time and energy in the fight for liberation. This kind of volunteerism may be questionable as those who were fighting for liberation with the hope of getting political positions in case the liberation is achieved (Brody, R. 2004). The history of volunteerism in the America is rich.

Its history began in the days of colonialism when colonists had to come together o solve the problems they were facing in the new land. Americans have over the years volunteered to help one another in times of wars, tragedy and need. Volunteerism in America is encouraged as seen in the numerous volunteer centers in the country. These centers aim at bringing the volunteers to the areas that need volunteering services. Volunteering centers started with the establishment of Volunteer Bureau in Minneapolis in 1919. The government depends on the citizens on a wide range of activities that require volunteer activities.

In the early days during the liberation struggles, the nature of service required for volunteering was basically for provision of civilian service to the military by funding and organizing boycotts. Among the notable beginning of volunteer service is the establishment of firefighting company by Benjamin Franklin in 1735. The nature of volunteer services required today differs from that in the early days; it was centred to provision of services such as medical and other kinds of support to the liberation struggle. In the early 1900s volunteer activities were aimed at aiding returned soldiers from the liberation wars.

This period in voluntary service history was marked by the rise of many secular based organizations that aimed at providing community service. Among the notable organizations established during this period are the Rotary Club and Lions Club. During the periods of World War II, there was demand of service to the military. The government established the Bureau of Civilian Defense to provide civilian support to the war. In recent times, volunteer activities are marjorly aimed at provision of service to poor people in the society. A good example is the provision of care service and emotional support to HIV and AIDS victims by individuals.

The nature of service offered is wide ranging from educating and sensitizing people, to provision of social and psychological support to the already sick people. Today volunteerism has been used as a public relations tool by organizations. The main reason is to show the community members an organization cares for the well being of its members. This is done by organizations in a given community organizing its employees to work in certain voluntary activities such as cleaning of towns or hospitals in the community (Ellis, S. J. and Campbell, K. H. 2005). Voluntary service is utilized by many organizations.

Most recognized is the use of volunteer service in hospitals in provision of service to the sick. The volunteers are mainly used for provision of non technical service in the hospitals. These services may include doing laundry, helping with filing of documents, and other cleaning services. Volunteers also are used by organizations that are dedicated to the fight of diseases such as AIDS in the community. Volunteers may be helpful as the organizations may not be capable of hiring enough staff to take care of the varied activities that are required. Voluntary service is also used in provision of care services in elderly homes.

The use of voluntary service in hospitals has been encouraged for a long time due to the numerous staff shortages in hospitals. During the years or World War II, volunteering in hospitals played a big role in the saving the lives of wounded soldiers. Because of the war, hospitals faced acute staff shortages and out of patriotism volunteers come to give a hand to the hospital staff. Volunteers can help provide counseling services to patients facing life threatening diseases such as cancer and AIDS. The volunteers come to the hospitals at certain times to talk to the patients and entertain them.

They also help the hospital staff to clean patients and ensuring that they take their medication as directed by the doctors. This kind of volunteerism is encouraged especially for outpatients with such terminal disease. In developing and third world countries volunteers contribute a major role in the provision of care to AIDS patients. Today, retaining volunteers is a major problem in organizations as volunteers have small time and a lot of choices on the ways of helping the community. However there are some strategies that can help organizations retain their volunteer force.

The key is establishing why a volunteer is volunteering. After this the leader should make sure that the volunteer meets his goals for volunteering. An organization should be ready to provide small trainings that will help the volunteers better their service provision. It is also good for an organization to recognize the service of a volunteer. Volunteering programs should be flexible for the volunteer to have time for their lives. Encouraging teamwork between volunteers and the organization will show the volunteer that their efforts are appreciated (Ellis, S.

J. and Campbell, K. H. 2005). Volunteers can be valuable in many cases in the community. Agencies that provide care services can heavily benefit from the services of volunteers. An example of this is the use of volunteers in the fight against drug abuse, there is no enough number of staff that can perfectly do the job. First aid service givers can benefit from volunteer service in times of disasters. Today UNDP (United Nations Development Program) uses the provision of online technical service by volunteers to help development programs in developing countries

The use of volunteers can be useful in times of staff shortage; however this can be a problem when the kind of service to be offered by a volunteer is of technical nature. Volunteers can not be trusted for example a volunteer can not be the best person to provide Counselling service to a very sick patient. Untrained volunteers can cause the death of victims during first aid provision to accident victims.

Works cited

Brody, Ralph. (2004). effectively managing human service organizations. Sage Ellis Susan J. and Campbell Katherine H. (2005). By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers, (New Century Edition).Energize Ontario office of fire marshal, Guideline for Volunteer Recruitment & Retention. Retrieved on July 18, 2009 from http://www. ofm. gov. on. ca/english/FireProtection/munguide/Volunteer%20Recruitm ent%20and%20Retention/Resource%20Book. asp Kansas city, Department of Health and Human Services, November 15, 2007. State Strategic Partnership Session retrieved on July 18, 2009 from http://74. 125. 77. 132/search? q=cache:p8BXKS_5- qAJ:www. hhs. state. ne. us/Behavioral_Health/SSPS/Nebraska-State-EPC-FINAL-REPORT. pdf+how+volunteers+canhelp+human+service+agencies+deal+with+critical+manpow

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