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Volunteerism: Doing Your Part

Having an altruistic mindset is a strong asset for people who want to create strong communities. However, the desire to improve the world can seem daunting when you only look at the big picture. Many of us say that we would love to do more for the world, not realizing that there is help that we can provide right outside our doors.

Volunteerism can take many forms; and with the increased convenience that technology provides, getting connected with opportunities to volunteer has never been easier. Your time is valuable, whether it is something as long-term as donating your expertise for a large community-wide project or as short as donating an hour cleaning up trash around your neighborhood.

In the nonprofit sector, volunteers are a vital resource. Creating long-term change requires passionate volunteers who want to see an organization’s mission achieved. One of the best parts about volunteering is that it can often be tailored to your skill set and schedule. Whether you have a very busy schedule or have copious amounts of free time, you can put your skills to good use however often you would like.

Some individuals are deterred from volunteering their time since by definition doing so means you are foregoing financial compensation. While this is true, volunteering your time to a cause that you are passionate about has its own rewards. Aside from the general positive feelings that altruism can invoke in you, in many cases the impact of your volunteerism is easily noticed. There is a sense of pride that is felt when you take a step back and see the progress that you helped make a reality. Your time is also worth actual dollars to the agency you serve. This can be through matching grant dollars or by reducing the cost of the services you provide.

There are a number of resources available to individuals who would like to volunteer that make connecting with opportunities easier. One popular resource is GivePulse, an online platform that helps volunteers connect with organizations or events that need volunteers. Online resources like GivePulse allow organizations to attract a wide audience as well as make the process more convenient for both the organization and the potential volunteer.

In addition to ensuring that signing up and learning more about the opportunities available is a simple process, there are a few other steps that organizations can take to improve both the number of new volunteers as well as the retention rate of current volunteers.

  • Clearly state the expectations that you, the organizer, have for your volunteers. Whether that be on an online recruitment platform or in a social media post or introductory email—prioritizing clear communication between you and volunteers is critical.

  • Make the tasks as enjoyable as you possibly can. While not all tasks are fun, be sure to present them with a positive attitude, increasing morale when the task at hand isn’t very exciting.

  • Ensure that the volunteers know how much you appreciate their hard work. They are volunteering their time in order to help you forward your organization’s mission or accomplish a specific task, so make sure they know that their work is valued.

Whether it be on a global scale or just outside your front door, if you want to create lasting change, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. Volunteering your time can be just as rewarding for you as it is for the organization you serve. The compassion and dedication you display can inspire others to do the same and slowly but surely help make the world a better place.

If you would like to volunteer with the Drew Lewis Foundation, email


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