Why do you volunteer? Is it just ego? Money? Number of Like’s? Just didn’t have any other thing to do? Or maybe, an idea in your mind that you in fact can change the world? What ever your reason is, the important part is what value the voluntary work creates for those who receive it.
Voluntarily helping your employer’s marketing campaign and helping humans who escaped from war, are both voluntary work. But while building a brand, on one hand, you help to build a life on the other. Obviously, you need volunteers for both initiatives, but telling grown-up people to do things, especially voluntary work, is almost always counter-productive. I feel it’s easier to ask “why” rather than “why not” because the latter can very easily turn into you becoming supercilious. So I start by asking myself and other volunteers this one simple question: Why do you care in the first place? Having some thoughts and insight on this, I can then decide to participate, or just stop and continue with something different. Doing this you might see that you, with your skills and perspectives, can inspire people, help people. I no longer try to convert people, or recruit directly - that doesn’t work. If you understand the “why”, you can instead focus on sharing your passion with others and thereby open the doors to those who really want to contribute.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead)
As part of my voluntary positions in the different type of organizations, I have helped others accomplish things they did not believe in nor thought was beneficial economically, academically or socially. As a chess teacher, I have seen young people who started without any knowledge progressing to mastering the game. As a computer instructor, I teach refugees intermediate computer skills and programming, some of them who now progress further with advanced studies and others who get ready for job interviews. As a volunteer for the Norwegian IT-community, I help the community stay alive and prospering. As an external University supervisor, I have seen how students mature intellectually as they complete complex research reports. Most of the voluntary work I have done involves education - and when I contribute with courses and classes, I realize what amazing and important work teachers actually do.
Teachers are the one and only people who save nations. (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk)
Education is the key to peace, it’s the only thing that will make the world better for the generations to come. I don’t earn a single penny for being a volunteer, but I do think that I, in fact, can change the world. That’s why I volunteer.
Image credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/lbLgFFlADrY