There are a number of different principles or social laws that are used in business and in our personal lives. One that is often overlooked but that is a key part of building successful personal and business relationships is the law of reciprocity, also known as the reciprocity principle.
In essence, this reciprocity principle is based on doing something nice for someone who does something nice for you. In other words, giving first is a way of reaping the rewards, even if that was not the intention behind the original first good deed or action.
In many ways, volunteering is a type of altruistic behavior, very similar to the law of reciprocity. Most volunteers do so out of a feeling of satisfaction or fulfillment in helping others. They have a genuine wish to be of service in their community or for a cause that is near and dear to their hearts. Volunteers typically do not start volunteering to earn recognition or to receive some personal reward. However, recognizing volunteers is a wonderful way to encourage engagement and interest in volunteering throughout a community.
The Value of Volunteering
It is very difficult to measure the value of volunteering. For most people giving first, or the law of reciprocity, is a significant factor in choosing the activity. It is a chance to help others in some, often using your talents, gifts, and skills in a way that is truly based on the desire to help, not the desire to receive.
At a deeper level, people may choose to volunteer as a way to feel socially connected to their community. In volunteering, you are connected to a group of like-minded people with a similar goal of making life easier or better in some way.
The organizations and community groups that use volunteers do reciprocate, even if it is not in a specific award or recognition. Volunteers can use this opportunity to learn new skills, expand their networks, and gather increased understanding to help them in their career.
Choosing an organization, group, event, or agency to volunteer with is a very personal choice. Some people volunteer to help with activities and events in their community, while others may choose to work with specific individuals. Volunteers can donate their time and professional services, or they offer other types of support, including office work, technology support, or even making phone calls and managing food drives or supporting the organization in another way.
The key factor to keep in mind is that volunteering has value in your life. What you contribute to your community is reciprocated in a multitude of ways that benefit all involved.