Do you ever find yourself asking something simple of someone and the response is a sigh and a reluctant agreement – even if it’s their job to do what you just asked? And what happens if instead of asking the person for something, you are volunteering to do something to further their cause, and they feel the need to qualify you?
I do a ton of volunteer work in and around Tampa Bay for various charities and events. I find it interesting to see how differently the various groups treat their volunteers. Some groups are fantastic – they value and appreciate volunteer efforts no matter how many hours you choose to give. Some events welcome their volunteers with thanks and humility – and leave volunteers wanting to donate even more hours because they feel valued.
Others take volunteers for granted or even worse, some volunteer groups feel that it is your privilege to serve them and that thanks is overrated. Just as some causes are better than others, so too are some “leaders” of the volunteer groups. While thanks is never an expectation when donating your time, it is a nice touch to have someone at least recognize that you gifted their charity (through time).
In my humble opinion, every minute that is volunteered is a gift of the “present” – a gift of time that the giver freely donates (and time is the most valuable commodity). I will absolutely volunteer again and again with the firms and organizations that I know appreciate me.
Then there’s the rare ones that make you feel as if you have to get their permission to volunteer. They screen and qualify and want to turn volunteerism into a full-time job for you. You might be surprised at this, but unfortunately it’s not as remote an issue as one would think. I don’t know about you, but if it takes a lot of administrative effort to volunteer, and if the structure is such that you have to volunteer according to very rigid strict rules, I’m not going to give my precious heartbeats to the organization. Just as purchases are made on emotion, so too are where we choose to spend our time – and volunteerism should be a noble cause – with noble people… it’s the few rotten apples who need control and who treat volunteers as fodder who create a problem.
Fortunately these are few and far between! I love to volunteer and further a cause with my talents and energy. And the return on investment is the joy in assisting others who are less fortunate, camaraderie among volunteers, and new friendships. I guess maybe it IS a privilege to volunteer after all!
Wishing you a happy week.