We all love the organizations that save the children and puppies and build houses for people. We admire and respect those who give back to the world and their community.
But when it comes to being that person, things start to get tricky. When am I going to have time to do that? I don’t know how to build houses. I’m not a people-person. I’m allergic to dogs. So many reasons, a lot of them legitimate, stand in the way of unleashing our inner Mother Theresa.
Giving back is important and has been scientifically proven to have multiple positive benefits to ourselves as well. Here are some ways around the potential roadblocks to giving back.
I can’t build a house and I’m allergic to dogs and babies and nature…
Giving back looks very different for different people. Maybe you’re not crafty with your hands, or you are not an animal person. That’s ok! Maybe mentoring is more your thing. Perhaps grabbing a group of friends to clean up the park and play football afterwards is more your speed. Maybe you’d rather coach a little league team or lobby for a social injustice. The best way to give back is to find what you’re passionate about. There is always work to be done. Find what inspires you and go for it!
I don’t have time.
Don’t think of volunteering as a marriage. 2 hours a month is 2 hours that you filled a need for someone. Start small and work your way up. If you can do one Saturday a month for a few hours, that’s great! Whatever time and talent you can give is a need you are filling for someone else.
Or find ways to give back without doing anything extra at all. When you shop on Amazon, use Amazon Smile. Amazon will take a portion of your bill and donate it to an organization of your choosing, at absolutely no extra cost to you. Or, if you walk a lot, download the Woof Trax app and help a shelter dog in need. For every 1 mile you walk, they’ll donate some money to a shelter of your choosing, again at no cost to you. You’ll be doing what you normally do, but giving back at the same time, so it’s a win-win!
I’m not a people-person.
Everyone has their own personalities, and those traits play a major role in what you’re comfortable with and how you work best. If talking to people at a soup kitchen has you breaking out in hives, relax! There are plenty of other ways you can help. Many organizations are in need of some practical, behind the scenes work to be done. If you can rake some leaves or shovel someone’s driveway, you’ve got plenty to offer!
I don’t know where to start.
This is a very valid argument. Most people want to help in some capacity, but aren’t even sure what is out there or how they would fit best. Check out some of the organizations listed below and visit their websites or give them a call! Find out what they need and if you can fit into that in any way. It’s ok to shop around. The better the fit, the more productive and rewarding this experience will be!
One last piece of advice…bring some friends along! Chances are they have the same concerns you do when it comes to volunteer work. Bringing a group together will provide accountability to follow through and will make the experience even more enjoyable!
Congratulations on taking your first step to becoming a volunteer! Be prepared to be rewarded and connected in ways you never thought you could be!