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Why do people volunteer? October 20, 2010

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 10:21 pm
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We keep asking this question again and again: Why do people volunteer?

I decided to study the needs people have and tried to figure out which ones are satisfied when people volunteer.

I pulled  out Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which looks like a pyramid with the largest and lowest levels of needs at the bottom, and the need for self-actualization at the top.

“The lower four layers of the pyramid contain what Maslow called “deficiency needs” or “d-needs”: esteem , friendship and love, security, and physical needs. With the exception of the lowest (physiological) needs, if these “deficiency needs” are not met, the body gives no physical indication but the individual feels anxious and tense”.

Volunteering could help meet top four levels of needs, and there is something all four levels share – the need to be useful. Strangely enough, when we find a way to be useful, we find the meaning of life.

Beatrice suddenly turned her back on the painting, walked out into the courtyard again. The idea she wanted to add to her book was straight in her mind now.
“The worst thing that could possibly happen to anybody,” she said, “would be to not be used for anything by anybody.”
The thought relaxed her. She lay down on Rumfoord’s old contour chair, looked up at the appallingly beautiful rings of Saturn — at Rumfoord’s Rainbow.
 “Thank you for using me,” she said to Constant, “even though I didn’t want to be used by anybody.”
 “You’re welcome,” said Constant.

“The Sirens of Titan” Kurt Vonnegut


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