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The Importance of Volunteerism in Economic Development

Volunteerism is the backbone of many important ways in which we help our communities. This article will explore how volunteers are an integral part of economic development.

What is Economic Development?

In the simplest of terms, economic development improves the economic well-being of a community. It often includes increasing prosperity through public and private sector investments and workforce development initiatives. Volunteerism has a place in all aspects of economic development. Still, it's precious for volunteer-centered businesses and industries like retail, social service providers, food service, education, etc. Volunteering can be a win-win for those seeking employment or looking for meaningful work.

Who is an Economic Developer?

An economic developer (or simply a developer) is responsible for the growth and development of a community, county, or city. Although an economic developer can be either public or private, they are employed by local governments in most cases. Their job is to help plan and implement the necessary policies and programs to improve the community. This often includes creating conditions that promote business growth and investment, help retain young people within the area and ultimately improve the quality of life for all its citizens. Economic developers develop relationships with companies that want to invest in their community by helping them gain access to markets, capital, and new technologies.

How are Volunteer Organizations Essential to Economic Development?

Economic developers often have a passion for creating communities that look great and have a strong sense of community. Volunteers are essential to this process, and economic developers work with them in all phases of development, beginning with the development plan itself.

When developing the plan, first look at your community's current assets. This can be the people and organizations already in place and other resources like natural resources, transportation systems, and infrastructure.

Next, you will want to look at what is missing in the community, including everything from businesses to jobs to parks. Then you will want to evaluate more carefully some of the community's needs and explore how volunteers can help meet those needs. Finally, you will want to create a plan for how volunteers can partner with existing organizations to address these needs better than ever before.

Finally, after creating this plan, you will need to establish the structure for implementation and develop policy guidelines that will both celebrate volunteerism and encourage its growth.

Why is Volunteerism Important to the Economy?

One of the most well-known economic indicators is unemployment. Volunteerism helps combat this problem by providing opportunities to those who may not have access to employment or meaningful work. Volunteers are happy to do specific jobs because they are personally fulfilling or they see additional societal value in what they do.

Another way volunteerism helps the economy is in our communities and organizations. Volunteers are vital to many youth programs that provide educational opportunities for young people and recreational facilities for seniors. These types of community organizations need volunteers to keep them up and to run, and often these groups need volunteers to teach classes or organize events. In the long run, volunteerism increases the quality of our communities by developing a stronger sense of community and helping us live more sustainably.

Muslims around the world have mastered selflessness, providing voluntary support to the community. For example, a Muslim worker would be unselfish by performing extra work in the mosque on their day off. The importance of volunteerism can never be underestimated, and volunteers have a strong innate drive to give back to the community, which is hugely beneficial to economic development.

Finally, volunteers help create jobs. According to the National Association of State Directors of Volunteer Centers, there are about 649,958 volunteer organizations in the country. That's nearly 3 million individuals who volunteer their time either one-time or regularly! And in most cases, these volunteers are not paid for their work, and they often devote more than just a few hours each week.

There are many other benefits of volunteerism that can be seen in neighborhoods, cultural centers, and education. The list is endless, but here are a few examples:

Youth development. Volunteerism and youth development go hand in hand because volunteers help develop communities through increased social connectivity, knowledge sharing, and access to economic resources for young people. There is even research that indicates volunteering helps youth develop leadership skills which can positively affect their academic performance.

Community building. There will be a stronger sense of community overall in a community where volunteers are involved. Through volunteering, people will come together to share resources like local businesses, parks, and other amenities they enjoy.

Community improvement. Volunteerism helps communities become more sustainable, vibrant, and improved. For a community to thrive, it must have a strong sense of community that includes a wide range of people with diverse backgrounds and interests.

Economic development. Volunteerism is an excellent tool for economic growth because it increases access to capital, technologies, and markets and improves sustainability in communities. For example, volunteers help build affordable housing through home renovation projects which attract investors and thus increase the quality of life of all its citizens.

Sustainable development. When your community develops the needed support to ensure sustainable programs, it essentially implements what the United Nations defines as Sustainable Development Goals. This creates a strong sense of community that is environmentally and economically conscious.

How is Volunteerism Beneficial in the Workplace?

Volunteerism can play a significant role in the workplace because it allows employees to be more productive by helping them set aside time for volunteering within their paid work schedule. Additionally, employees receiving volunteer recognition on an annual basis could help raise company morale which would, in turn, increase productivity and improve the overall environment.

This idea of giving volunteer recognition requires that managers understand how it can potentially impact their workforce and how it can benefit the organization as a whole. The basic idea is that employees are in the paid force to bring value through their productivity and time to the organization. Suppose employees can find a way to use their time for something beneficial to the organization, like volunteerism. In that case, it could be a win-win situation for both employee and employer.

Evidence shows that employees who volunteer tend to be more productive and hardworking. As a result, employee recognition based on their volunteerism can positively affect company morale and productivity.


Volunteering is an excellent tool for economic, cultural, and community development because it helps people fulfill their needs while creating a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and belonging. As more and more people become involved in volunteerism, they can contribute to their community's economic growth, social development, and overall sustainability.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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