Living a Richer Life and Volunteers

Some may ask, “How will my intention to live a richer life impact me as a volunteer?

The answer to this is found when you consider some of the most significant challenges that volunteers deal with day in and day out. Let’s consider these challenges and how living a richer life will address them.

Challenge #1: Many people who wish to volunteer are not connected to a cause and therefore don’t know how to get started with involvement that will be meaningful for more than a few days. If volunteering is expected to generate the many positives that one seeks to live a richer life, it is most important that each person is helping a cause that really matters to him. If there is no deep connection to the cause or organization, volunteering can seem like a chore that you’ll soon come to resent and drop, leading to a bad experience. Unless corrected, this “mismatch” of cause and volunteer might even discourage the individual from participating further, leaving a void where purpose should be found.

When you determine that volunteering is the best pathway to fulfillment and meaning in your life, it is critical to align with a cause that resonates with you. Taking the time to consider the issues that motivate you, perhaps the problems that have touched you or your family, or persistent problems that really bother you is so valuable to find cause alignment. Working with an experienced advisor might be valuable to go through a process of determining which causes or problems you can invest your time and expertise into over days, weeks, and even years. Seeing the impact of your own efforts on the right cause will be much more rewarding and keep you fulfilled over a much longer period.

Challenge #2: Many people who want to help a non-profit organization are not really sure what it is that they have to offer. Obviously, they can offer time to help, but how much time? What other plans or obligations will keep them away at times? What is the ideal volunteer schedule? Rather than merely showing up to do whatever, maybe one’s experience and skills would be more valuable to the organization.

When deciding to volunteer, one should determine how he or she wishes to contribute his or her time and efforts. Organizations may want a lot from good volunteers, but that doesn’t mean each person should, or will be fulfilled, doing everything the organization wants. Determining how much time, what kind of schedule, and periods of longer absences are important to having a fulfilling volunteer experience. Additionally, each volunteer should decide if he or she will be a general volunteer to be used where needed, or a “skills-based” volunteer contributing his or her talents to the organization. When each volunteer has determined how to contribute his or her time or talent, he or she will more likely discover a rewarding experience.

Challenge #3: Though the volunteer may know the cause that matters to him, he really doesn’t know the organizations addressing the issue or which ones can use his help. Somewhat like looking for a job, knowing who can use your help is a tricky, but necessary step in achieving fulfillment through volunteering.

When deciding to volunteer, it is vital to find the right match in a non-profit. As discussed above, it must address the cause that matters to you in a meaningful way, and It must be able to use the time and efforts you wish to contribute. Researching organizations for the right fit is the best way to begin a search, but you’ll still need to approach target non-profits with your offer to help. Introductions can be helpful, but “cold contacting” the organization may be the only way to determine if there is a good fit. Experienced help can assist you in narrowing your search and making valuable introductions.

When you decide that the best way to live a richer life is by volunteering, using a deliberate process to determine the best cause alignment, what you can offer, and which organizations would be the right place to help is so valuable. Finding your answers before offering your valuable time and efforts to specific non-profit organizations is the best way to ensure a fulfilling experience and produce a much richer life.

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