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Most human motivation -- including motivation to do generous acts -- includes an aspect of self-interest.

Therefore, successful volunteer projects will draw on volunteers' desires in some way -- for affiliation, for recognition, for accomplishment, to be needed. Successful volunteer leaders -- like leaders of other activities -- will recognize members' desires and align activities to appeal to members' desires. To be happy, volunteers will recognize their own self-interest, and align themselves with groups and activities that fill some of those needs. This will help avoid burnout.

When volunteers are primarily self-interested -- when they will only take on activities that meet their whim, and can't be relied on to keep commitments, if they will not support fellow volunteers, if they sabotage the organization's mission for personal goals -- they are no longer a good fit for the project.

"If I do not stand for myself, who will stand for me? And if I stand only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when." R. Hillel


Reducing volunteers to their desires of affiliation, recognition, accomplishment is a typical trait of the StayPoor meme. A more holistic approach is needed to integrate intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. -- [fridemar]


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