Take Time To Care: Volunteer!
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.- Ralph Waldo Emerson
When it comes to charitable giving, it’s not
just the cash that counts.
In this difficult economy, many Floridians who used to make generous donations to non-profit organizations have had to cut back on their charitable giving. For a lot of us, our good intentions have had to take a back seat to buying groceries and paying bills, especially if a family member is unemployed or we are struggling with debts.
Yet we still want to help. We know that there are thousands of families with needs greater than ours. We feel a strong commitment to help others, whether because of religious beliefs or a spirit of community . . . or both.
What can we do?
Volunteers don’t get paid . . . not because they’re worthless,
but because they’re priceless.
You may not realize there is another way to contribute generously to charities and causes, using your time and talent as currency instead of money. More than 80% of non-profit organizations use volunteers - to make up for budget shortfalls, and to fill important jobs ranging from event planning to office support to construction work or direct constituent service.
These organizations welcome volunteers who can type and file, write press releases, keep the books, build houses, handle data entry, care for animals, research the issues, relate to computer software, talk with the public, provide daycare . . . the list is nearly endless. Somewhere in South Florida, there is a non-profit organization clamoring for a volunteer with exactly your skills!
Volunteerism is an exchange . . . your skills in exchange for a variety of tangible and intangible rewards.
If you’re asking, “What’s in it for me?” don’t feel guilty. Think of volunteerism as an exchange. Some of the rewards of volunteering are tangible opportunities:
- To make a genuine, measurable difference in someone’s life;
- To make new friends, be part of a team, and expand your network;
- To polish existing skills and learn new ones that could advance your career;
- To explore new interests and even discover hidden talents;
- To relax, enjoy yourself, and have fun.
Still other rewards are more intangible, emotional benefits:
- Feeling needed and useful;
- Demonstrating your commitment to the community;
- The satisfaction of a job well done;
- Challenging yourself with something new;
- Escaping the pressure of your day-to-day job;
- Standing up to be counted for a cause in which you believe.
To get started, indulge your passion . . . and follow your heart.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Is there one cause that is especially meaningful to me? Do I shed tears for animals that need rescuing, am I driven to feed the hungry, do I yearn to work with young children?
- What kind of organization would I enjoy working with? A chapter of a national group with a highly professional operation . . . or a local startup that’s a “show in the barn” not quite ready for Broadway?
- What kind of volunteer schedule would work best for me? Do I want a once-a-week assignment, a regular monthly task, or a special project?
- What skills do I have that could transfer to a non-profit group’s needs?
- I’m a social person who loves working with people on the front line.
- I’m a computer wizard who can whip any database into shape.
- I’m a student eligible to earn credit for community service hours.
- I like staying behind the scenes, helping in the office or staffing a booth.
- I’m a crackerjack event organizer - just point me to a fundraiser.
- I’m not sure how I can help . . . but I’m ready to explore the possibilities!
Who volunteers? People like you!
- In 2009, 63.4 million Americans volunteered. That’s 26.8%, more than one out of every four.
- People between 35 and 54 were most likely to volunteer.
- Many schools give students academic credit for community service, and some schools require it . . . starting thousands of young people on the path to life-long volunteerism.
If you think one person can’t make a difference, think again.
History is full of examples where one person changed the course of events or turned around the lives of others in need. Whether a renowned leader like Martin Luther King or an anonymous volunteer extending a helping hand, everyone has the power to make a difference. But not everyone uses it.
Some people are content with just wishing the world were a better place. Fortunately, others like you are willing to step up and make the difference happen.
If you are ready to harness your own power of one, click below to learn about non-profit organizations that are looking for volunteers like you. Then make the volunteer connection that will make a difference in someone’s life . . . and yours.
Good News About Volunteering