Volunteer Motivations: The Good Samaritan

Expanding the series on volunteer motivations; here is the first in a selection of interviews with famous volunteers. There is much academic literature exploring the reasons why people choose to give up their precious free time in order to volunteer. As previously mentioned on this blog it is never just a case of pure ‘altruism’ (whatever that actually is). Researchers such as Gil Clary and Mark Snyder have come up with more quantitative ways of exploring volunteer motivations. However for the research for this blog I have decided to use a qualitative approach. Not only did both Lei Fang and Princess Di have trouble understanding the quantative indexing system, qualitative data provides a far greater and richer level of detail in a small sample such as this.

Below is the original, unabridged transcript of my interview with The Good Samaritan:

Interviewer: Good morning The Good Samaritan

TGS: Mimma

Interviewer: Could we speak in English please?

TGS: Ok, sorry. I’ve had a rough night

Interviewer: So, my first question is; How often do you volunteer?

TGS:  Well, whilst I am best known for my informal roadside volunteering I also formally volunteer down at the temple. Often every day, except Saturdays when I play Ultimate Frisbee

Interviewer: And how did you come to be involved in the organisation?

TGS: Well its religion innit

Interviewer: So you volunteer out of religious duty?

TGS: Well, I guess that’s part of it. Keeping on the right side of im’ up there [points upwards] ain’t a bad thing. I guess I also started volunteering cos my mum told me to. Don’t want to get on the wrong side of her either! [laughs]

Interviewer: .. and how well do you know your colleagues?

TGS: Oh yeah that’s another thing; my mate Collin also works down the temple. If it wasn’t for ‘im I would have stopped years ago. Apart from Coll, who I knew before, I also got friendly with a few other lads .We often go to the Johns Head to ‘ave a few after we finish.

 Interviewer: How do your parents and friends view your volunteering?

TGS: Well, my mum is very encouraging; If I don’t volunteer she hits me with a palm leaf

 Interviewer: Do you think volunteers across the globe have something similar?

TGS: What is the globe?

 Interviewer: I mean, for example, do you think that me and you, a westerner and a Sumerian have something in common?

TGS: Isnt the West all full of them savages?

Interviewer: Ok, we’ll move on from that question. Nearly at the end now. Next question is: would you consider volunteering if your life became harder?

TGS: I mean yeah, probably. I mean if I lost my job then probably I’d have more time to volunteer. Although….when I lost my job the last time because of those pesky Phoenicians I did just sit at home eating dates…..hmmm Im not sure.

Interviewer: So that completes the interview, thanks very much for your time.

TGS: Cheers geez, I’ll be off then. Got a trip to Jericho now and you know what that roads like…

For a translation of the Sumerian phrases used by The Good Samaritan see here.

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