What Does It REALLY Mean To Volunteer?
Let me start off this article by saying I understand that there are many people in this world who have spent countless more hours than me volunteering in their lifetime. I don’t however, necessarily believe that quantity determines the quality of output an individual has when it comes to causes they dedicate their time towards for free.
Someone very close to me brought up an interesting point at a past volunteering commitment some time ago which we both took part in, which was along the lines of;
“Isn’t it a shame that people are sometimes oblivious to the fact that they only act by an organisations values when they are spending time volunteering for that cause, and not outside of the specific time they dedicate towards it”.
This sparked a thought in me being that, we can spend a few hours here and there giving up some time towards something we are passionate about, we can pat ourselves on the back for doing some “good” in the world that we all believe is getting “worse” (however you choose to define that), however is that worth celebrating if we unintentionally or intentionally live our lives completely different to what we preach to others while volunteering?
An analogy to help those who have not spent time dedicating their free time towards a cause is this; how different is that persona you have put on for a job interview or at a time in which your character was getting assessed, to who you ACTUALLY are when no one is observing or judging you?
Every day (myself included), we spend a portion of our time convincing others that we may not be the person we are, whether it be something as minor as pretending we enjoy a particular food to pretending we are in fact qualified to do a job when in actual fact we have no formal qualifications (Mike Ross reference from Suits anyone?).
In all seriousness though, if we choose to adopt an alias even in the slightest means, all this will do is harm our own reputation going forward, especially if it is concerned with a charitable cause we have dedicated our time towards. At the end of the day, who we are as people no one should judge, it’s when we make others believe we are someone else or not whom we say we are, in which we start to be judged and not seen as genuine as we would like.
Please ask yourself these questions if you have volunteered before or are thinking about it;
- Do my day to day actions as well as the things I say or think when no one is looking, really reflect what this specific organisation is about?
- If people only mirrored my actions and how I acted as opposed to what I told them, would that make the world a better place?
Sure, my opinion might sound negative or pessimistic and I get how you could come to that conclusion, however, isn’t it also posed as a challenge to others to ensure that the quality of participants towards countless causes that so desperately need genuine people involved increases?
Play your role and make sure that whether you are simply doing something as small as volunteering a few hours towards something or something much larger such as starting a charity, that you can safely and with confidence say that your day to day character embodies everything you are preaching.
Written By: Michael Candiloro