“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
It doesn’t take much digging to discover how many things are just not right in our world these days. Food insecurity, illiteracy, violence, homelessness, and a staggering number of –isms are affecting people right in our own communities. Most of us hear about these issues and think, “I wish I could help somehow.”
Our challenge to you today is to stop wishing and start doing.
We know—that’s easier said than done. Our schedules are jam-packed already, and trying to find a place to give our time can feel a bit overwhelming. But, the trade-off is worth it, don’t you think? While volunteering is obviously beneficial to our communities and our causes, it’s also just really good for our souls.
These pointers will help get you started with volunteering:
1. Decide how much time you can give. Can you offer a couple of hours a week? Maybe one afternoon a month? Even infrequent, shorts bursts of time are worth giving to volunteering!
2. Reflect on what moves you. Media is full of videos and articles about social concerns. Which ones make your heart beat faster? What stirs up a bit of righteous indignation? We tend to avoid situations that make us feel uncomfortable, but when it comes to finding the right place to give your time, moving toward that feeling will prove the most meaningful.
3. Research opportunities. Sites like VolunteerMatch and HandsOn Network allow you to search by location and cause.
4. Invite your people. Sometimes, we hesitate to spend time volunteering because it takes time away from our family and friends. So, why not volunteer together? Even very young children can help sort canned goods, and serving together is a great way to cultivate relationships.
5. Involve your workplace. Organize a community day among your colleagues or see if your officemates will join you for a 5K fundraiser.
6. Volunteer virtually. If you’re not quite ready to show up at a local organization, consider other ways to give back.
Have you made volunteering a priority in your schedule? How did you get started? What difference is it making in your life? Your story could encourage someone else!
This post was written by the fabulous Kelley Hartnett. Thanks for writing for Intentional April, Kelley!