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Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain "to benefit another person, group or organization". Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.
During this time, America experienced the Great Awakening. People became aware of the disadvantaged and realized the cause for movement against slavery. Younger people started helping the needy in their communities. In 1851, the first YMCA in the United States was started, followed seven years later by the first YWCA. During the American Civil War, women volunteered their time to sew supplies for the soldiers and the "Angel of the Battlefield" Clara Barton and a team of volunteers began providing aid to servicemen. Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and began mobilizing volunteers for disaster relief operations, including relief for victims of the Johnstown Flood in 1889.
The Great Depression saw one of the first large-scale, nationwide efforts to coordinate volunteering for a specific need. During World War II, thousands of volunteer offices supervised the volunteers who helped with the many needs of the military and the home front, including collecting supplies, entertaining soldiers on leave, and caring for the injured.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (in 2012), about 64.5 million Americans, or 26.5 percent of the adult population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $175 billion. This calculates at about 125–150 hours per year or 3 hours per week at a rate of $22 per hour. Volunteer hours in the UK are similar; the data for other countries is unavailable.
An increasingly popular form of volunteering among young people, particularly gap year students and graduates, is to travel to communities in the developing world to work on projects with local organisations. Activities include teaching English, working in orphanages, conservation, assisting non-governmental organizations and medical work. International volunteering often aims to give participants valuable skills and knowledge in addition to benefits to the host community and organization.
Micro-volunteering is a task performed via an internet-connected device. An individual typically does this task in small, un-paid increments of time. Micro-volunteering is distinct from "virtual volunteering" in that it typically does not require the individual volunteer to go through an application process, screening process, or training period.
Volunteering often plays a pivotal role in the recovery effort following natural disasters, such as tsunamis, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and earthquakes. For example, the 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake in Japan was a watershed moment, bringing in many first-time volunteers for earthquake response. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami attracted a large number of volunteers worldwide, deployed by non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and the United Nations.
Much like the benefits of any type of volunteering there are great rewards for the volunteer, student, and school. In addition to intangible rewards, volunteers can add relevant experience to their resumes. Volunteers who travel to assist may learn foreign culture and language.
A majority of the companies at the Fortune 500 allow their employees to volunteer during work hours. These formalized Employee Volunteering Programs (EVPs), also called Employer Supported Volunteering (ESV), are regarded as a part of the companies' sustainability efforts and their social responsibility activities. About 40% of Fortune 500 companies provide monetary donations, also known as volunteer grants, to nonprofits as a way to recognize employees who dedicate significant amounts of time to volunteering in the community.
Community volunteering, in the US called "community service", refers globally to those who work to improve their local community. This activity commonly occurs through not for profit organizations, local governments and churches; but also encompasses ad-hoc or informal groups such as recreational sports teams.
According to Where's the Learning in Service Learning? by Janet Eyler and Dwight E. Giles, immersing oneself into service learning and serving others has many positive effects both academic and personal. Not only does surrounding oneself with new people and learning how to work together as a group help one improve teamwork and relational skills, it reduces stereotypes, increases appreciation of other cultures, and works to allow young people to find others that they relate to.
In some European countries government organisations and non-government organisations provide auxiliary positions for a certain period in institutions like hospitals, schools, memorial sites and welfare institutions. The difference to other types of volunteering is that there are strict legal regulations, what organisation is allowed to engage volunteers and about the period a volunteer is allowed to work in a voluntary position. Due to that fact, the volunteer is getting a limited amount as a pocket money from the government. An organization having one of the biggest manpower in Europe is the German Federal volunteers service (Bundesfreiwilligendienst), that was founded in 2011, by having more than 35.000 federal volunteers in 2012. A much older institution is the Voluntary social year (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr) in Austria and Germany.
The program included several stages: recruitment, selection and training of volunteers, organisation of their work during the championship. The recruitment of volunteers for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup via FIFA.com started on 1 June 2016 and closed on 30 December 2016. Some of the volunteers worked at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup: 1733 people assisted the organisers in Saint Petersburg, 1590 worked in Moscow, 1261 in Sochi, 1260 in Kazan, a total of 5844 participants.
26 projects qualified to the final and were supported by the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee and the host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The jury included the General Director of the Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee Alexey Sorokin, Ambassador of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia Alexey Smertin and Advisor to the Head of the Federal Tourism Agency Svetlana Sergeeva.