Did Volunteering Practices Evolve Through the Twenty-One Century? Let’s Find out Together


In June 2020, the Plan of Action to Integrate Volunteering into the 2030 Agenda for the Global Technical Meeting on Volunteering 2020, published a study on volunteering practices in the twenty-first century. This study suggests that volunteering practices have evolved due to technological advances but also the rise of awareness about migration, climate change, inequalities, or crises.   

Technology, a Chance For Everyone 

Technology is one of the main reasons why volunteering has changed so much in the past few years. Indeed, online services gave the opportunity to certain individuals to have easy access to volunteering organizations. Moreover, a new type of volunteering including new activities such as graphic design, updating a website, taking care of social media…, more online ones have arrived. Those technologies also gave the chance to people with disabilities to have more access to volunteering. 


The Growth Of Individualism

Changes are also visible concerning the reason volunteers choose to work. Personal benefits as mental health, self-confidence, gained experience,… are now as important as altruistic motivations. Along with those changes, volunteers tend to choose more short-term volunteering than they used to do and to choose causes in which they identify. 


Women, More Attracted to Volunteering

UNV 2018, also looked at the link between gender and volunteering. Thus, 57% of volunteers are women that work on social and health services. On the contrary, volunteering among men is more concentrated on cultural activities and sports. Gender stereotypes are quite reflective in the volunteer world. 


In conclusion, the study shows that volunteering is more accessible for everyone nowadays thanks to the internet and new technologies. The development of individualism reflects in the new volunteer profile. People don’t go abroad just to help others but also to grow.
Those new volunteering practices are not seen as good for everyone. Indeed, some organizations put a stress on the lack of commitment of those new volunteers. Long-term volunteering is not as trendy as before. 


To sum up – Meet Nina 

Nina is quite young, she is at a turning point in her life where she finished her Master’s degree in Health care but wants to continue her study maybe on another subject or on a specific option of health care.
Before starting this new challenge she wants to give her time and go abroad.
To do so, Nina chooses to volunteer. Her goals are to gain confidence and learn more about herself to help her make the best choice for next year. However, she doesn’t want to have an experience all by herself, she wants to share and use her knowledge to feel useful for others.
This time abroad is the opportunity to gain some experience while helping others.
To find this volunteering, Nina uses Google and Facebook as the searching engines.
Through this experience, Nina really wants to gain independence and prove herself that she is capable of doing it while investing her time in helping others.

*Nina is based on the results of the story she may not correspond to every profile of course 😉 


For more information, here is the link to the full study https://www.unv.org/sites/default/files/Volunteering%20Practices%20in%20the%2021st%20Century_en_1.pdf