Enthusiasm for volunteering must be sustained and effectively harnessed
THERE WERE MORE THAN 12,000 VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS with over 100 million registered volunteers nationwide at the end of last year, according to statistics newly released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Beijing News comments:
Volunteering has thrived in China since 2008, when the Beijing Olympic Games and the earthquake in Wenchuan in Southwest China's Sichuan province saw large numbers of volunteer organizations appear, tapping the public's willingness to participate in social causes.
The fast growth in the number of registered volunteers shows the remarkable progress China has made in promoting voluntary services to provide helping hands to needy parties.
The central authorities have sought to boost the development of the voluntary service cause and volunteer organizations, urging local governments to create all necessary means to tap into the society's passion for voluntary work－which has risen along with the improvement of people's livelihoods－and translate it into concrete works and services.
Since 2008, the number of volunteers has increased fast, and the quality of volunteer work has witnessed marked improvement, as not only are a growing number of professionals contributing their skills and knowledge, but the management of voluntary organizations has become more efficient and target-oriented.
These organizations play a key role in mobilizing and matching the suitable volunteers to specific tasks in a timely manner, as the professional participants often have a tighter schedule than average volunteers, which helps to maximize the effects of their know-how and limited input of time.
In the future, the authorities need to attract more specialized talents to do meaningful work, and continuously enhance people's awareness of the importance of volunteer work.
In countries with more mature volunteer services, in addition to the high proportion of adults participating in volunteer services, the average volunteer service time can reach more than three hours per week. In contrast, in China, a large number of volunteers serve less than one hour per month. Such a short service time and too low a frequency cannot fully demonstrate the positive effects of volunteer services, nor can they help volunteers to sustain their passion.
People can realize their personal moral values by volunteering, and the larger volunteer service space needs to be explored. This requires more positive incentives for volunteers to sustain their enthusiasm.