Volunteerism Works

Volunteering. It is so rewarding. So why is it so hard to work service into your life sometimes? Let’s be honest, when you have a ‘to do’ list the length of your leg, it’s not really surprising that volunteer service falls off the radar. There are so many good reasons to volunteer. Helping out a cause can be a boost to your professional and personal networks, allow you to be educated on a new topic and provides an opportunity for exposure amongst a new group of people. But I urge you to not use marketing as your sole reason for volunteering your time. Use it to recharge yourself and support those around you. Let’s think about this a little more closely. Here are a few reasons to rise to the occasion and sign up for service:

  • Give to those who need it more than you.  There are so many worthy organizations that run on volunteer power. Don’t let analysis paralysis get in your way.  And remember, the organization’s goals don’t need to be lofty. Rather, select a cause that speaks to you.
  • Use your strengths. Whether you want to volunteer once or over a longer period of time, consider aligning your community service with your what makes you successful at work. Your skills may be exactly what an organization is lacking, making you a valuable asset without necessarily doing anything hard.
  • Don’t go it alone. Volunteering can be so much more fun with others along for the ride. Consider inviting a friend, colleague, spouse or child to join you for a few hours. The time you spend together will bring you closer while you collectively help those in need.
  • Be sincere. Don’t volunteer because you have to for work or you have motivation for self-promotion. The simple act of helping those in need places you amongst like-minded individuals. There is no room for self-promotion. Just roll up your sleeves and show them what you are made of by example.
  • Don’t only donate money. Giving financial support to something is always a good option, but if you can give of your time, you create a win-win for everyone. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily fill a personal or community void. Physical and emotional presence can deepen an experience for everyone involved.

Community service is an important part of the human experience. It is easy to forget how important it is to be a part of something for the betterment of others. Of course your service will help you personally, in some ways you may never realize until later. Give it a go.  Schedule some time for yourself to get out of your routine and see new people. You will never regret it.

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