Volunteering

Volunteering (1)

I am so exhausted, I get up make the breakfast – mine and for the family, get the kids up, walk the dog, have a shower, get the kids ready, get them out the door and…. BREATH! Now in the car, off to work, manage staff, office politics and egos until lunch time, no time for lunch as I need to catch up on what I should have been doing in the morning! Afternoon blur of activity unhappy customers, deadlines and reports, leave at 6! Home, cook dinner, supervise homework and squabbles, get started on tomorrows packed lunches, tidy dishes away and…… RELAX! No, it is 10 o’clock and past my bedtime and I must get off up those stairs if I am to awake at the alarm buzzing at 6 am tomorrow…... SIGH!

The next part of the above is it must be repeated over the next 4 days!

Sound familiar?

An ex Manager of mine wants made a very important statement.  If you have something important that needs to be completed with a deadline look around your team and assign it to the person who is busy. 

Why you may ask, as I did?

The busy person will look at the assigned task and do one of two things.  They will either pass it back and say it is not achievable in the time provided and give you a deadline they can achieve, they will deliver as they have now taken ownership. Or they will accept the work and complete as you have assigned, again as they have taken ownership. 

Give it to someone who isn’t busy, and they will procrastinate about the fact you have given them the work to do, will not challenge the request because they know you know they are not busy and finally for the deadline to be met you will either have to micro manage or end up doing it yourself.

So, the point to the above is we all have busy lives, but we also can find time to do something new.

But why does the Charity sector need you?

The reason is that we never know what is around the corner and most Charities are established to help those less fortunate than ourselves.  If you volunteer an hour of your time a week or a month what difference could that make to someone’s wellbeing?  If you can sit on a board and share your wealth of knowledge and experience that could ensure the Charity survives, or, they can make life changing benefits for the next client or visitor who walks through their door.  It is not always about raising money with a collection tin it can be a lot wider than this with positively contributing in so many other ways.

We have all heard that funding has been cut, Council’s and Health Boards are having to look at their delivery models and how the third sector plays a significant role in that new service model.  Services can be procured cheaper or more cost effectively.  The closing part to that is, it is only possible because most charities are totally dependent on their army or network of volunteers.  Volunteers claim expenses and not a salary, so the costs are significantly reduced and cut services within the public sector can be delivered differently and, in many cases better if Charities can be responsive to changes and demands.

I now hear you say, “this all sounds great, but I do not have the time” and if I can create an hour of free time in a week I need that to sigh, drink a warm cup of tea and switch off from everything else.  Fantastic you have just articulated that you want some “me time”!  So, after your hour of switching off, nothing has changed other than you have delayed doing the packed lunches or making the dinner or doing that important thing that happens every other day.

What if that hour was spent on a telephone stopping someone making a negative life decision, or, helping someone deliver a workshop that the people attending would not be able to take part in if it wasn’t for your help, or, as a trustee you bring professional expertise to ensure sound governance and controls exist within the Charity?

I think in conclusion we all can have busy lives but there are so many ways you can put something back but at the same time get so much reward. We all can, and do make excuses, but the next time you are sipping that cup of tea and thinking how great it feels having a break consider the short-lived feeling of reward, satisfaction and your emotional state.  Compare that to making positive changes within a Charity as your means of escapism. 

I assure you the latter will have all those happy endorphins doing a little dance in your head for days, making you smile and tackle those routine and daily chores with a spring in your step, for a few days anyway.

Live in Central Scotland, here is a Charity that you might want to consider Reachout with Arts in Mind

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