Cliches usually have no business taking up space on a blog post- no one has time for that. But in this particular circumstance, the cliché is apropos: It’s better to give than to receive. Our universal resistance to asking each other for help proves that this is the case! While it’s inarguably true that being asked to help a friend or family member is somewhat better- I think we can all admit that it can be a mixed bag. “PIVOT!!!”
Volunteering is a different story. When you show up at just the right moment to help someone, outside of the bounds of a social contract, the experience is much deeper. It stops being transactional in nature and becomes an act of humanity – one that often produces results that surprise and exceed the expectations of both giver and receiver.
Right now, in this extraordinarily difficult period, those investments are paying off at an all time high.
Usually at this point in a blog post, the writer pines on superfluously about a personal experience in which he, after several autobiographical paragraphs, has come rather expectedly to be inspired to write said blog post in the first place… like a flower that planted itself and grew to generate the seeds from which it sprouted. Let me save you the time, reader: I have come to love volunteerism, and I know that you will too.
When you invest money in someone who has less, you come awake to the realization that your money is worth more than you thought it was. The same is true of your time – and your voice. If you’re lucky enough to have the kind of volunteering experience where you come home tired and covered in dirt, you will likely find that you are somehow also full of renewed strength and energy.
Volunteering is a powerful, non-transactional gift that we each have a unique ability to offer. A gift with the power to leave you feeling like you have come to own more of yourself than you did before you gave some of it away. On behalf of VolunteerLocal, I hope you will consider volunteering in your own community during this difficult time.