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Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?

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Is Volunteering Rewarding in Itself?
Stephan Meier and Alois Stutzer
Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich
February 2004

Some things said about volunteering seem intuitively right; such as, volunteering can make you happy. Research such as the 1997National Survey of Volunteering (Davis Smith 1998) in the UK which found that 73 per cent of people rated ‘I really enjoy it’ as a very important benefit of volunteering, or Luks’ work in which he identified the ‘helper’s high’, go some way to confirming this. This type of information can be very useful in promotion and recruitment work, or in applications to funders. When Micheal Argyle’s book, The Social Psychology of Leisure, reported a survey which said that volunteering was the ‘nation’s second favourite pastime’, one volunteer agency in the UK produced a highly effective poster to raise awareness of volunteering based on those findings.