Wednesday, July 15, 2009

To Volunteer or not: A Thankless task!

Although I have spoken about this subject matter twice before, I feel the need to readdress the issue. Volunteers are responsible individuals who offer their expert knowledge, talents and services willingly, without remuneration, and reimbursement for their expenses. While some individuals choose to volunteer in their community, there are others that offer their knowledge and usefulness from the comfort of their home via their computer. Whether it is on a large or small scale, somewhere those volunteers are making a positive impact to a worthy cause or on someone's life.

There has always been a need for volunteers, especially now, that we are currently in a severe economic crisis. As a result of Federal cut-backs and lack of funds many charitable organizations are on the brink of closing their doors to those in desperate need. Volunteering requires a lot of hard work, time, and energy and in some cases, money. A volunteer's efforts to a worthy cause will help that particular organization to economize money that would otherwise be spent on labor. Volunteer work is necessary to our American economy.

Unfortunately, there are situations where volunteers are treated with disrespect. Demands are placed upon them to move at a faster pace or to give more of themselves, beyond what was initially required. This reflects a clear message of selfishness and indifference on the part of the administrator that he or she doesn't care much about the quality of the work that is being done, or much about the individual. Whether the volunteer devotes one hour or several hours a week, or a month to a given project, this is only what they are able to do. Volunteering for a cause does not mean, that it should take priority over everything else in their life. Please remember that these individuals have families and situations to tend to outside of their volunteer work.
There are individuals who pursue goals in their volunteer work, and which with all honorable intentions wish to generate the greatest good possible in furthering the cause. Sometimes a person may succeed in some areas, while in others fail to meet the proposed task. It could be possible that the individual may have devoted all his/her considerable energy and time toward fulfilling one goal and falling short of achieving the others. Nevertheless, I feel that whatever was accomplished and benefited by that volunteer's good intention should be judged for the value in itself and not be reprimanded for "taking on too much" and leaving behind a "half assed" project. I find this to be a very offensive statement. If that volunteer did an excellent job in other areas or at other times, then please do remind them of that good performance, congratulate them or they will think less of their volunteer efforts and cease to contribute their free services. Yet, sadly to say, this doesn't always happen.

On the other hand, dependability as a volunteer is essential. When a volunteer takes on a commitment he or she should focus on how best it should be fulfilled. However, keep in mind that the volunteer's situations and circumstances may change over the years, and their work performance may not turn out as expected .
So please let us not forget to always be appreciative of all free services that we have received from the efforts of volunteers. "Thank you" is one of the most positive words that we can communicate, yet it is the least used. Thank you expresses gratitude. Just saying a simple" thank you” each time can make all the difference in the world. It encourages that volunteer to go the extra mile, when he or she is being appreciated. Not only thank the volunteers for their services but also thank the administrators of those organizations and humanitarian causes that make it all possible.
Miriam Medina
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Elena Patrice said...

Wonderful post about volunteering! You covered all aspects of volunteering so incredibly well! Thank you so much! elena

Anonymous said...

volunteers are great! personally i volunteered for 15 +years at my expense of financial gain. Unfortunately, I can't afford to volunteer ... it's time to leave that to college students and foundations.