Why: Social Interaction

Part of the ‘Why’ series, this brief article introduces ‘social interaction’ as a motivating factor for volunteering. In Cnaan and Amrofell’s article ‘Mapping Volunteer Activity’ (published in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly) a number of ‘rewards’ are listed that motivate people to volunteer. ‘Social interaction’ is listed as one of them. As Cnaan and Amrofell write (346):

People who feel lonely may find volunteering gratifying because it increases their social ties.

This is an important observation and one that give the volunteering experience copious amounts of ‘added-value’; value that is often overlooked by both those considering volunteering and those studying volunteers. Social ties envelop a locality like a spiders web made of nice, friendly rope (think LOTR-style elven rope), tying down all the goodness and binding the whole community into a nest full of ‘good citizens’ ready to hatch. Having pursued the spider analogy beyond its effective expiry date, it would be good to move away from webs and nests and towards the ‘sense of community’.

Moved to a new area? Volunteering is an excellent way to make new friends and meet new people with similar interests to your own. Not only this but it will make you feel that you are immediately contributing to making your new post-code that much more desirable. This is important in generating that all-important feeling of a ‘sense of community’; something that can often take a long time to surround the newly-moved.

Taking part in local volunteering turns strangers into neighbours and ‘out-of-towners’ into stakeholders in the local community. Volunteering to improve an aspect of the local community alongside your neighbour not only improves the local community by the voluntary act but through the act of volunteering itself. By working side-by-side with a neighbour in pursuing a common goal you are creating close social bonds and who knows where those social bonds will take you? New friends? Tennis partners? Someone to taste your homebrew? Social interaction is, as the Fresh Prince would say; all good in the hood; its one of those things that it is very difficult to have too much of. Interact, interact, interact. If you interact with others whilst investing and involving yourself in the local area; that local area will feel like a community. A good way to go about this? Volunteer. Volunteering achieves it all.


5 Comments to “Why: Social Interaction”

  1. Nice post! keep up the good work

  2. A strong pint has been made. Now it’s everyone’s duty to examine it and choose to appropriate the perspective or filter it out and walk away believing it’s good to be true.

  3. Интересно написано, но мне кажеться я уже это где то видел…)))

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