The motivations that move people to volunteer are varied but here are a few personal observations:
- They want to give back to the synagogue because the synagogue helped them out during a difficult time (for example, with the illness of a family member).
- They enjoy the company of other Jewish people because they lack it at work or in their neighborhood.
- They are on a spiritual search.
- They have a family history of volunteering for the congregation and the previous generation has instilled an expectation of carrying on that tradition.
- They want to be involved with an activity which gives them a sense of transcendent meaning (think volunteering to help teens or interfaith work).
- They are curious to try on a task that they haven’t before (for various reasons).
What is important to note is that each motivation requires a different approach to volunteer engagement. As a volunteer talent scout, you get to probe people’s motivations and then match the work to their motivations. So any volunteer “ask” should begin with an understanding of the underlying emotional needs of potential volunteers.
This is not an exhaustive list of motivations for volunteering. So:
- please add to the list
- and, let me know of one example when you saw a volunteer really grow because you aligned his/her emotional needs with the task at hand.