“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Okay. I’d really like to think I’m completely strategic about how I spend my volunteer hours, wouldn’t you? But is that always really true for anyone? I mean, really? Here’s what Dummies.com says. Check it out….
Consider Why People Volunteer
The classic stereotype of a volunteer is someone who has lots of time to spare and is looking for something to do. Although this perception may have been true in the past when many women stayed out of the workplace and gave their energies to charity, the stereotype no longer fits. Women still volunteer more than men, and people between the ages of 35 and 44 are the likeliest to volunteer. Those members of the “likeliest group” also are likely to be balancing careers with raising families, not to mention taking care of aging parents, going to the gym, and keeping up with e-mail.
Understanding why people volunteer makes it easier to find volunteers, organize their work, and recognize their contributions. Not everyone is motivated by the same factors. People volunteer for a variety of reasons, including their desire to:
- Help the community and others. Helping others usually comes to mind first when people think of volunteers. But as you see when you read deeper in this list, their motives aren’t always this simple.
- Increase self-esteem. Volunteering makes people feel better about themselves. Giving a few hours a week, or even a month, to an organization creates good feelings.
- Help out friends. Friends are often the first people we turn to when we need help. Volunteering also can create a great way to get together with friends on a regular basis.
- Make new friends. Volunteering is usually a social activity. People use this opportunity to meet interesting people who share their interests and values.
- Try out a job. People considering a job in the nonprofit sector often discover that volunteering is a good way to get a peek at what happens on the inside.
- Polish their resumes. Adding volunteer experience to a resume shows a commitment to helping others or to working in a particular field.
- Develop new skills. A volunteer job often gives people an opportunity to learn how to do something they didn’t know how to do.
- Enjoy something they love. Many volunteer jobs come with intrinsic benefits for their participants. Ushers at the symphony get to hear the music. Gardeners removing invasive plants from a native plant preserve get to spend a day in a beautiful natural setting.
So, lots to offer – making friends, helping friends, increasing job skills, networking – even if you’re not passionate about the cause. Doesn’t really sound so dumb, does it? Even if you’re not always passionate about the cause. So please, tell us why you volunteer and what you get out of it. We want to know.