What is it about?

In the community service sector, supply and contribution are emphasized unilaterally, while self-interest needs in altruistic services are always ignored. Through semi-structured interviews with 13 NGOs and questionnaire responses from 430 volunteers, this paper assesses volunteer community service providers’ personal needs during the COVID-19 based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. What's more, practical recommendations focused on these needs were proposed to ensure satisfactory volunteer experiences during crises, which can assist state agencies and NGOs attract potential volunteers and effectively manage them during crises.

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Why is it important?

We found that volunteer community service providers had safety, love, belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization personal needs, all of which were closely related to family, partners, organizations, society, and the government, and that more experienced volunteers tended to be under greater safety needs pressure. Focused on these needs, we put forward some practical suggestions to contribute to volunteer management in crises, particularly non-governmental organizations need to focus on providing greater safety support, motivation, and professional development, and also coordinate external relations with partners and the government.

Perspectives

With regard to this article, in the preliminary research, I went to the hardest hit areas of the COVID-19 epidemic to carry out difficult research. In the process, I deeply appreciated the specific personal needs of volunteer community service providers and the reality of the NGOs’ responses to these personal needs. Therefore, I hope this article can make people pay more attention to the personal needs of volunteer service providers and give more humanistic care, rather than just focusing on their supply and contribution, especially in the crisis.

Rui Li
Sichuan University

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This page is a summary of: Volunteer community service providers during the COVID‐19 crisis response in China: What are their personal needs and how to respond?, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, July 2022, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/1468-5973.12426.
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