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Volunteering: It's more than the work of your hands.

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Jul 24, 2012
by James Burgess

What does your investment as a volunteer bring to an agency or an organization?  It's not a rhetorical question, I'm asking for real.  Think about it.  Keep thinking.  I'll wait. 

 

OK.  I've waited long enough.  I've already thought about the question.  Want to know what I think?  I think your investment as a volunteer brings more value than any one of us would ever believe.  Really.  Here's a list, in no particular order of importance or relevence.  Afterall, each volunteer is an individual.  What's important to me may or may not be important you.  So, the list...

  • an original perspective - no agency or organization is going to survive if they always do things the way things have always been done.  We all benefit when we look through the eyes of another.
  • additional capacity - volunteers expand the cababilities of agencies the moment they walk in the door, pick up a shovel, open a book to read to a child
  • specialized knowledge - sure, specialization is knowing more and more about less and less.  We've all heard that line before.  Now ignore it and be realistic.  What can you, as a volunteer, do that most folks can't?  Don't think for a moment that skill might just be in demand.
  • energy - as a volunteer your arrive of your own free will, with a willingness, a readiness to make a difference.  You can be the imspriation.  The power of one is a mighty power indeed.
  • objectivity - you don't have preconcieved notions, baggage, or fatigue.  This is especially true when it comes to serving the needs of the community.
  • attention - as a volunteer you enjoy the luxury of an acute attention to the task at hand.  Tune in, turn on, drop out.  You're a volunteer.
  • credibility - bet you didn't think about that one, did you?  As a volunteer you don't have so many vested intrests in an agency or organization.  People see you volunteering and it makes them think:  If she's volunteering, maybe I need to do it too?  If he thinks it's important to volunteer for Agency X, then Agency X must be more important than I realized.