Volunteering: Connecting the Global Agenda on Sustainability to the Community Level

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Volunteering takes multiple forms and can have different meanings depending on the context. Common definitions usually encompass the following dimensions: (i) voluntary provision of time, expertise, and/or labor on behalf of others, occasionally or regularly; (ii) material or financial reward not seen as main motivating factor; (iii) benefits for the general public good, beyond the volunteer’s familial circle; and (iv) whether activities are performed through a formal organization or informally (Cnaan et al. 1996; UN2002; IFRC 2011a; Graham et al. 2013; Hazeldine and Baillie Smith 2015; UNV 2018a). The terms
volunteering and volunteerism are often used interchangeably, but some argue that “volunteering” is centered on the volunteer as the main actor, while “volunteerism” relates to a wider set of stakeholders and practices (Schech et al. 2018). Volunteering is not synonymous with concepts such as altruism, benevolence, charity, civic service, gifting, mutual aid, philanthropy, self-help, social activism, solidarity, etc. but is frequently associated with them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPartnerships for the Goals, Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals
EditorsWalter Leal Filho, Anabela Marisa Azul, Luciana Brandli, Amanda Lange Salvia, Tony Wall
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9783319710679
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2020

Publication series

NameEncyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (ENUNSDG)
ISSN (Print)2523-7403
ISSN (Electronic)2523-7411


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