Monthly Archives: November 2009

Why Do People Volunteer?

During the holiday season, many people feel the need to volunteer their time to charity organizations.† Feeding the homeless is especially popular at this time of the year, and then often forgotten – duty done.† Such volunteering is often met with eye-rolling by the staff of organizations, who wish that such earnest desire to help would continue at other times of the year as well.

Itís easy to be cynical about holiday volunteering.† But for an increasing number of men and women, young and old, volunteering their time, service, and expertise has become an integral part of their lives; an expression of their core values.† And that raises the question: Why do people volunteer?

Moreover, how does it impact your own life, as well as those whom you help? Over the years Iíve explored these questions with men and women, and tried to help them discover the meaning and impact of their volunteer work upon their own lives, both personally and professionally.†Iíve found that volunteer work can impact peoplesí values, perspectives, and even their life goals.† For many, it spurs new growth, spiritually and emotionally.

This makes sense.† Over the years, as Iíve investigated the link between career success and emotional conflict, Iíve found that many highly successful, career-oriented men and women acknowledge feelings of inner emptiness, and absence of meaning in their lives. At the same time, many say that their volunteer work is the only arena that provides a sense of meaning and human connection.† Far greater than their career, and – sadly – often greater than their intimate relationships.

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