I think volunteerism means seeing yourself as part of the community. The community is an organism, and we are all part of its working parts. Charles Dickens said that our spirit needs to walk amongst our fellow man. This means we need to give ourselves to others, and help where we can. I strongly believe this. Find some way to contribute, and you will make the world a better place starting at your doorstep.
Volunteerism goes beyond doing something without expecting anything in return. Volunteerism means serving in an area of need without consideration for compensation, personal preference or personal convenience. It's easy to do good works when it comes naturally or is something you enjoy. The spirit of volunteerism or more pronounced when it requires personal sacrifice.
I would say that volunteerism is simply getting involved in your community by doing things without the expectation of any extrinsic reward for your actions. I think that volunteerism goes through cycles where you see a lot of people volunteering their time and talents to times where you see very little of it. In our area of the country we see a lot of people volunteering right now.
It is even more important for people who can to volunteer their time because doing so is beneficial to one's community, not to mention rewarding to the volunteer. Volunteerism is an exercise in unselfishness. Who does not need this every so often?
I think that volunteerism comes with the reward of knowing that you are doing something for someone else. If someone has the time, the means or the talent to help someone else, then they should! What do they have to lose? Some school, church or social organizations encourage or require volunteer work as a part of the membership, but I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing to be exposed to the wide variety of needs that other people have. If a person is never exposed to the needs of others and the reward of volunteering, he or she may never do it of their own accord. Many groups that require service projects make that known to interested parties, so they know what they are getting in to.
it's synonymous with citizenship in my opinion. By volunteering our time, effort and expertise to the community, and for the public good, we are giving back to a society that has allowed us to become educated, safe, fed, and cared for. We have taken advantage of America's opportunity, and volunteerism is choosing to give something back, to "pay it forward" as it were.
While the definition of volunteerism to me means the same thing as post #2, when I think about it as an adult, my first thought is: who has the time? Honestly, after high school and college, I was pretty excited about finally getting paid for the work I would do. Teachers in particular do a lot of volunteering in the form of work outside the classroom, whether it is advising a club, assistant coaching a JV team (for which, the funds are usually slim to none) or extra tutoring outside of class. I do not say, "Who has the time?" as a negative comment, but truly, it is my first thought. When I look at most of my non-teaching professional friends, I see that they work much longer hours (for which they are justly compensated) and spend their time off as family time. As I get older and my family grows larger, my time becomes more and more valuable. It becomes harder and harder to prioritize the giving of our time to others, and deciding who is most deserving.
Volunteerism means doing things for others without expecting any sort of a reward for what you do. Ideally, it would also mean doing those things voluntarily. Because of that, I dislike it when schools require volunteer activities. If you are required to volunteer for something, you are no longer doing it of your own free will.
So, volunteerism, to me, is willingly voluntarily doing things to help others when you get nothing tangible in return for your efforts.