Volunteering efforts are an essential driver of change in development, and many organizations rely on young people and experts alike to devote their time to initiatives — from teaching in a rural school in Zambia to helping develop marketing material for a new women’s initiative in Guatemala — around the world. Volunteers, on the other hand, view the work as way to break into the sector or an opportunity to put their expertise to use in a more meaningful way.
Now, organizations, volunteers and program stakeholders can come together to discuss this and more through the #DoingMore initiative, a series to showcase the evolution and meaning of international volunteering today.
Many people have already weighed in on what volunteering means to them.
“Volunteering in my own opinion is needed as a driving force for every dream builder across the world,” wrote Taiwo Akintunde Collins.
For others, volunteering is a way of showing their concern for lives other than their own.
“For me volunteering is a way of showing our concerns with the world, that we are part of life as opposed to being apathetic to what is going on around us,” wrote Lea Fenix-Cea, who has volunteered for the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voter in the Philippines. “Volunteering one's time, talent and resources could make a difference in our world and we can make lives of everyone better.”
Individuals also chimed in to the larger #DoingMore discussion on Twitter, suggesting that volunteer organizations should cross-pollinate more often, and offering their own volunteer success stories or asking for others to do the same.
While few are arguing the positive effects that a well-managed volunteer program can have, there is still room for debate on the best way to measure the impact of such programs, and several discussion contributors have addressed the need to explore the cons of volunteerism as well.
The larger idea should be that volunteering follow the greater development call to heavily involve local communities in program planning, suggested one contributor.
“It is important that the volunteer approach their host organization with an open attitude to learn as well and not just as the ‘expert’ who is there to show how things should be done,” noted Marcia Small.
What does volunteering mean to you? And what is a volunteer’s role when it comes to local capacity development? Join the conversation by leaving a comment below, and check out all Doing More content here.