Why do people volunteer? Volunteering provides the opportunity to connect with others that you may never have planned to engage within your daily personal or professional circles. Volunteers are needed because most organizations, non-profit or not, lack the operating funds to pay for everything they envision doing. Volunteerism is tied to something you’re passionate about, perhaps lost a loved one to a disease and want to prevent others from suffering the same outcome. Volunteering through different programs enables a devotion to a cause that’s close to your heart and can facilitate others to share that passion. Other benefits to volunteerism can be:
• Building self-esteem and self-assuredness
• Develop new job skills
• Earn academic credit
• Feel needed and appreciated
• Perform an activity as a family unit
• Possibly improve health through physical labor
When do volunteers exit a program or just quit volunteering altogether? The primary reason people stop volunteering is a lack of appreciation. Satisfaction with volunteerism has a direct correlation between making a difference without the feeling of sacrifice. When the level of participation becomes a ‘burden’ or seems to always ‘be left to me’ then volunteer participation becomes another task or burden than a passion.
When you’re feeling sacrifice instead of the excitement of volunteerism, ask yourself:
• Do you need endorsement from your company to participate in this effort? Do the volunteer’s activities get matched funding from your organization, does this matter to you?
• Where have you contributed to something significant, meetings, seminars, public fundraisings for the passion you have concerning this cause? Are your efforts realized in sustaining the cause such as, more volunteer recruitment, public visibility, or incoming funds?
• What matters to you in receiving adequate credit for your efforts, public recognition, awards, family acknowledgment, etc.? Does this credit impact the type of volunteer ventures you would accept in the future?
• What emotions do you feel about your volunteer efforts, proud of them, no matter what your immediate community may think?
“Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need.”