Why Do People Volunteer?

volunteerFor someone who doesn’t do it, trying to understand why people volunteer can be difficult. This becomes even more so when the task is dangerous. But there are several motives that can be used to explain this.

Belief in the Cause

Whenever there have been wars, there have been those who made the decision to join the battle. For these individuals, it’s all about fighting for what they believe is right. It’s not that they’re unaware of the dangers, but it’s something they’re willing to go through. For many, the consequences of not joining will be much worse.

During World War I, thousands of Europeans joined on their own volition. That scene is repeated throughout history when wars are fought. For several individuals, the answer to why people volunteer is all about belief in the cause. It is something that is worth fighting for.

Thinking of the Future

For some, it’s all about the future. An example would be those that join environmental groups. These involve a lot of work, from cleaning out trash to taking care of endangered animals. These also include attending hearings and rallies. While some view these as thankless tasks, these people are thinking of the future. What they’re doing is to preserve the present so there will be a future.

This viewpoint isn’t just limited to environmentalists of course. People who safeguard monuments and national treasures are thinking of the same thing. They want to conserve the present so future generations may live in a better place.


Simple kindness is another factor as to why people volunteer. When calamity strikes, we see men and women offering their services to help others. We see them helping total strangers who become trapped when earthquakes or hurricanes strike. For most, it’s simply a matter of doing the right thing. They do it because it is the proper thing to do. They don’t do it to get rewards or recognition.

Giving Back to People

An individual who becomes financially successful might feel the need to give some of the fortune back. Helping out is one way to do it. For these people, it’s not just another way to gain fame or earn more money. It is their way of expressing gratitude towards the others. When asked why people volunteer, gratitude and giving back may be the answer.

Growth of the Individual

A sense of achievement is another basis. Whether it’s reading to small children or helping build homes for the poor, the activity can bring a sense of fulfillment. Some also feel that is a way for them to grow emotionally and spiritually.

Other Benefits

Aside from helping others, the act also brings other advantages. It helps a person learn more about himself / herself. New skills can be acquired. The ability to communicate and reach out to others is improved. Joining in these activities can help one overcome personal hurdles. A sense of responsibility is also developed.

For many though, asking why people volunteer is no longer that important. What matters is the act itself and how it helps people or a cause.

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