Seventy-Five Subconscious Reasons People Volunteer


Some researchers claim 90% of decisions are made on the subconscious level. Understanding what makes your volunteers tick will give you an incredible guerrilla edge by using psychology. You can learn to maintain volunteer interest–almost reading their minds.

Nonguerrillas only understand about 10% of the reasons that make volunteering attractive to people. Guerrillas know about the rest of the motivational iceberg that is beneath the surface and they use that understanding to deepen the interest of the people they want to recruit.

Here’s a list of 75 reasons people will never tell you they are volunteering. Heck, they may not even be able to tell themselves.

  1. To find a personal mission in life
  2. To give back
  3. To make a difference
  4. To change the world
  5. To mobilize support
  6. To be relevant
  7. To belong to a greater cause
  8. To legitimize financial support given to a charity
  9. To experience spiritual renewal or new power
  10. To express love toward mankind
  11. To overcome fears
  12. To seek the approval of others
  13. To appreciate the blessings one has
  14. To be patriotic
  15. To be loyal to a cause
  16. To sacrifice, go beyond one’s self
  17. To make right for wrongs committed in the past
  18. To have made an impact before death
  19. To turn away from worries and responsibilities at home to find inner peace
  20. To be compassionate
  21. To be able to boast to others
  22. To express one’s religious beliefs
  23. To overcome guilt for wasting time, energy, or resources in the past
  24. To go back to a battlefield with a purpose that is life-giving
  25. To try to make use of a language learned in school
  26. To learn some new things and grow intellectually
  27. To be an expert on the subject matter related to the cause
  28. To find one’s self
  29. To pretend to be somebody else
  30. To be true to what one stands for
  31. To see how one’s core values hold up
  32. To appreciate one’s daily life back home more
  33. To break with routines
  34. To experience the thrill of being outside one’s culture
  35. To feel what it is like to be a philanthropist
  36. To find solutions to problems back home
  37. To have an experience to tell others about
  38. To take a break from everyday activities of home and work–a temporary escape
  39. To confirm one has made the right investments with one’s time
  40. To see first hand something that might be historic
  41. To see what the circumstances are in other places
  42. To gauge resources needed to complete the cause
  43. To asses the status of the cause
  44. To spy on the “other side” of another cause
  45. To get “outside the box”
  46. To join the crowd
  47. To impress other people at work
  48. To have a more interesting life
  49. To imitate others who have been models of behavior
  50. To respond to the many calls and invitations to volunteer
  51. To check the feasibility of being more deeply involved in a cause
  52. To see if sustainable change really is possible
  53. To believe in a cause more deeply
  54. To experience hope by seeing people helped
  55. To make one’s own unique contribution
  56. To see the rest of the country or world
  57. To legitimize one’s political views
  58. To have a vacation with a purpose
  59. To relieve tensions
  60. To experience a “different world”
  61. To have a controlled diversion of events, tastes, touch, etc
  62. To use one’s imagination
  63. To compare other ways of living with one’s own background
  64. To compete with other causes
  65. To be passionate about something and feel good
  66. To be amused by strange people, places, and customs
  67. To spend quality time with friends, family, church members, etc
  68. To take good pictures and videos
  69. To have great stories to tell back home
  70. To have souvenirs of other places
  71. To go to as many places as one can
  72. To go more places than others do
  73. To shop in places, ways and for things that are not possible back home
  74. To see beautiful things, places, people etc.
  75. To explore new ways of communicating

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One thought on “Seventy-Five Subconscious Reasons People Volunteer”

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