After years of being in a very stressful and draining job, I had very little time or energy for much of anything after my work day. I had a very unhealthy lifestyle, and I felt very unfulfilled. Something had to change. I ended up quitting my job and finding another company to work for with more manageable work hours and stress levels. As I started to recover from exhaustion and burnout, I started to search for things I could do to add meaning to my life. Exploring the topic of service/volunteering helped me focus on something besides myself. I found a volunteer opportunity in my local community where I could use my gifts and talents.
Once you start to better understand yourself and who you are, examine your priorities, and develop better time management skills, you will free up time and energy to help others. It’s easy to get caught in our own struggles and priorities, but using our gifts and talents, time, or money is vital to our own well-being. Here are some great reasons to consider volunteering:
- Volunteering is fulfilling and gives you a sense of purpose
- Helps others who are in need, making a difference
- Building relationships with fellow volunteers and those you are helping
- Contributing to a cause you are passionate about
- Volunteer Statistics
It’s hard to prioritize volunteer activities in a culture that is driven by success and net-worth. But I feel like we’re moving towards community service and volunteerism. People want to help others. I’m always amazed at the money raised to Go Fund Me campaigns and through contributions when natural disasters hit. But we have a long way to go. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 63 million Americans volunteered 8 billion hours in 2015, but this was only 25% of residents. Though total giving of individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations rose 2.7% in 2016 from the previous year to $390.5 billion, per Giving USA’s website.
Reasons We Don’t Volunteer
After surveying some friends and family, I came to a few conclusions as to why we do not spend enough time volunteering.
We don’t know how to go about finding a volunteer opportunity.
Here are some resources to help you find a volunteer opportunity in your area. You can also check out the major organizations such as food banks, the red cross, and shelters.
Points of Light- http://www.pointsoflight.org/handsonnetwork/where-we-work
Volunteer Match- https://www.volunteermatch.org
Network for Good- http://www.networkforgood.org/volunteer/
Fear, pride, selfishness.
We all struggle with hang-ups, and no one is perfect. If we wait until we have 100% pure motives, we will never volunteer. As we challenge our goals and figure out our purpose, our activities will become aligned with what is important to us. We will gain the confidence to overcome doubts and will be better equipped to deal with any uncertainties we have.
Thinking that we have nothing to offer
Most organizations are struggling to find people to help out. There is always a place that can use your help. Tasks can vary from administrative work to planning large events and campaigns.
Burnout, lack of time, lack of resources
There is a time and a season for everything. If you are in one of these resting and rejuvenation seasons, do not beat yourself up, but accept this season and take care of yourself first! If you only have 10% to give, but after doing a self-care ritual could give 55%, wouldn’t this be better?
The flip side to Volunteering
We sometimes think we need to do something grand and elaborate for it to count as volunteering. But any time we do something nice for someone else or help someone in need, we are making a difference. Is there something simple and easy that you can do to bring a smile to someone’s day?
Hi, I’m Shara
I have a passion for organizing. This stems from being naturally drawn to simplicity and structure in my home. Combined with my desire to help women achieve their goals, Simply Renewed Living was born.