Volunteering for busy people

I must confess, I like to help people. That might sounds weird, at least it usually sounds weird to me.

The thing is I didn’t know it about myself till recently. I was always too busy achieving my goals. One of my goals was to learn MBA at MIT Sloan, that’s why I started to volunteer at Paamonim as financial management consultant for economically distressed families. I simply wanted this line in my CV. Ouch.

I’ve never got in to Sloan though. I got pretty close, until the interview stage which is the last step before getting in, but I’ve never made it. One of the good thing of that I was able to continue my volunteering work.

The process in Paamonim is pretty straight forward — I escort a family while they discover their income, expenses, debts and monthly balance. Usually people just don’t know where they are standing financially, but after they do, they can start working on strengthening their financial weak spots.

Sometimes the family should reduce its expanses, other times it should organize its debts. Needless to say that an increase in the family income is more than welcome (you’ll be surprised how much people are scared just to talk to their boss about a raise).

I volunteer for about 3 years now and handled quite a lot of cases so far. I think that the most radical change was with a family that managed to overcome (in 3 months) a monthly deficit of 7000 NIS (~1800$) into a monthly excess of 2000 NIS (~500$).

In other case, I worked with a couple that were somewhat unorganized and insecure about managing their financials. At our last meeting, after 4 months of amazing financial progress, I was sure they going to thank me about organizing their home economics, but instead they thanked me for helping them rediscover their relationship. I still remember the feeling after that meeting. I said to myself - “wow! I am fu*k#n’ changing people’s lives”.

During my work, I discovered that the way people managing money is a reflection of their personality and relationships. When I step into a family house I can see their relationship through their balance sheets and through their financial actions. I believe that the family can feel that as well - what makes this process so powerful for them both financially and personally.

Bottom line, especially if you are too busy working, living and chasing your goals — start volunteering. Find or create something that shares with you the same values and emphasizes your personal strengths — and start doing it.

You’ll probably still be busy, but you’ll also feel a lot better.