Volunteering comes in many forms: serving food at the local homeless shelter, providing computer technical support to a non-profit organization, acting in a leadership capacity on a charitable organization’s board of directors or coordinating the emergency response in the case of a disaster. Around the world volunteer centers exist to support the voluntary sector and make a difference in the communities that they serve.
“If our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever.” – UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
The Center for Substance Abuse Prevention states: Volunteers are the backbone of any community initiative. Community partnerships need the leadership and assistance provided by volunteers. Volunteers help to increase awareness and understanding of issues in the community. They help the partnership deliver its message and advance its agenda. They build a constituency for initiative. They empower the community partnership. They provide the partnership with valuable resources to fill gaps in skills, experiences, and people power…the most effective movements/groups are those in which the functions and needs of the body are met by the skills and interests of the members. They give community partnerships the credibility, support, and human resources that are essential in order for them to advance a community initiative. They help create a sense of community. They are a part of, live in, and are concerned with issues that affect them within the community.
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” — The Dalai Lama
Where can someone volunteer? Almost anywhere. If you’re considering donating your time but aren’t sure what to do, think about what your interests are, talk to friends, or search online for places to donate your time. Some good websites to check out are
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali
National Volunteer Week is a nationally recognized week when volunteers are often honored by individual organizations/businesses. NVW will be held April 19-25, 2009.
According to the Independent Sector, the estimated dollar value of volunteer time was $19.51 per hour for 2007. The value for 2008 will be released in spring, 2009. This estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations most frequently use the value of volunteer time for recognition events or communications to show the amount of community support an organization receives from its volunteers.
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Perhaps you already volunteer your time – such as picking up donated medical supplies for Project C.U.R.E., tutoring people trying to learn English, working with hospice patients, feeding the homeless, reading to school children, walking dogs at a shelter, helping with disaster planning, or numerous other places. Congratulations on being a volunteer. You make a difference in people’s lives. If you don’t, give it a try. You’d be surprised how good you feel when you give a little of yourself for someone else.