America's Brand of Self-Interested Volunteering

New technology platforms and lingering job shortages mean volunteering will be increasingly motivated by self-interest. So is it still volunteering? Or should we not worry about defining it?

What's the Latest Development?


The concepts of service and volunteering are undergoing radical changes due to new technology platforms and an increasingly competitive job market. As one might expect, there will be a side to service increasingly motivated by individuals' self-interest. Start ups like Sparked and Catchafire, which work like dating sites for volunteers, match people's interests and skill sets to organizations that work to help society. These companies are also seeking to integrate service into the corporate structure, creating skill-based volunteering programs to suit a company's desire to provide its employees with leadership opportunities. 

What's the Big Idea?

As job shortages linger, the kinds of experience that differentiate one resume from another are razor-thin. That means volunteering, which provides opportunities to develop a particular skill set as well as leadership in general, will be considered an increasingly important asset by businesses looking to hire. "This healthy competition will ensure that social good organizations are getting the best volunteer talent. It also incentivizes the organizations that are looking for volunteer talent to invest in themselves in order to attract the best talent." But should we be concerned about service motivated by self-interest? 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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