One of my favorite quotes is “To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.”
You may never know the profound effect that you may have made on a person’s life. A kind word, a gentle touch or a listening ear can mean so much to someone who is sick, in pain or lonely. You generously give your gift of time to make contact, provide support and encouragement and perhaps provide humor to make someone’s day a bit more bearable because you have taken the time to care and to listen.
You give of yourself and bring with you your life experiences, skills, abilities, compassion, intellect and humor and ask for nothing in return yet you receive friendship, appreciation and satisfaction. You volunteer for many different reasons but for whatever reason you volunteer , you provide support, skills, talents and abilities to give someone hope and strength and the courage to face another day. You do not ask for accolades. You give your time generously without any expect…
Life is short. In the scheme of things this oft quoted saying must be true. Our planet has been here for millions of years – our universe billions.
On our headstones will be the etching of when we were born and the date when we died.
For example 1960 – 2050
What matters to me are not the two years mentioned. It is the dash. That little dash. -
That’s our life. That represents to me the short time we have, here, to make a difference, or not.
And making a difference means so many different things to so many people.
But for you, the volunteer, what you do during that dash is most significant.
You can give me money for my cause. Sure. But I may pay that back to you. Say you give a dollar a month. It is appreciated without doubt. It is your dollar. However you may pick it up elsewhere. Something extra you do. Some other way of earning that buck.
Having managed volunteers for close on 19 years I have gained the best knowledge from volunteers themselves. I like to probe, constantly. Why did you volunteer? Why did you chooses this organisation? Have you volunteered before? What was that experience like for you? What keeps you volunteering?
An effective Volunteer Manager has a curious mind. Curiosity may have killed the cat but in our field we can gain great learning from it. Why does John, who volunteers every Thursday morning and has done so for the last 12 years continue to do so? Why does Skye make time for volunteering despite her busy university life and social life?
The Volunteer interview is my favourite place to get valuable information about people, their motivations and their past experiences. It is also the place to get to know their expectations. How many of us forget to ask about their expectations? Does it become a place where we simply “Tell” them what is expected and then prattle on about the many rules and regu…