What’s your immediate response to the concept of ‘volunteering’ some of your time?
“I can’t see the point. Besides I don’t have the right skills.”
“Not one of my goals, I’m afraid. I’m too busy in the real world.”
“I plan on doing some volunteering when I retire.”
Although I have heard similar sentiments before I think they might be keeping people from doing themselves and their workplaces a big favour. For instance thousands of Community First Panel Members and Project People are currently benefiting their neighbourhoods, and themselves, by their efforts.
What’s In It For You?
So, building a volunteering goal into your personal development plan for 2014 adds value to your life, as well as the world around you. Here are 5 advantages that you and your day job gain when you take volunteer action:
5. You get to influence the development of your community and watch it change as a result of your work. Community might mean the workplace around you, the neighbourhood in which you live, or the wider networks to which you contribute.
4. Your leadership is instrumental in making change happen. When you volunteer you are doing more than your day to day activity. Contributing to an exceptional project means you are making an appreciable difference to others’ lives.
3. By working effectively with others your portfolio of skills grows. You pick up aspects of what others can do. Meanwhile they are learning from you.
2. Your volunteer status distinguishes you as an activist, someone who sees things as they might be rather than just as they are.
1. Volunteering connects you to the widest network of active, helpful people. Who knows when those connections will be useful to you.
What’s Your Next Step?
Those are just some of the positives that come your way by stepping forward to volunteer. Over to you now: what project will you devote some time to this Spring? Feel free to visit the Archives for some inspiration.
As a footnote, according to recent data on Community from the Office for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on average, people in United Kingdom spend 2 minutes per day in volunteering activities, lower than the OECD average of 4 minutes per day.
By contrast on average, people in United States spend 8 minutes per day in volunteering activities, one of the highest in the OECD where the average is 4 minutes per day. …high scores suggest there is a strong sense of community in the United States.