26 May 2015

Please don't volunteer

....... right now I can imagine leaders I know in the family history community busting a blood vessel just reading the headline.  The last thing they want is to have people discouraged from volunteering. But hear me out.

Sometimes the pleas for volunteers can go over the top - seems like they're laying a trip on you. They do have organisational roles to fill -- but don't let that make you succumb.

A poor reason for volunteering is that it's important to someone else. Life's too short to spend your free time doing things that aren't important to you. You'll probably end up regretting the decision and it may well turn into an unhappy experience for everyone.

Fortunately there are plenty of good reasons to volunteer:

- the mission and future of the organisation are important to you;
- you'll be in a position to help guide the organisation's direction;
- you'll be recognised as a leader;
- you'll enjoy the comradeship;
- you'll enjoy being of service;
- you'll establish relationships that can help you with your family history research and writing;
- you'll gain experience in something new, or enjoy contributing a skill you have mastered;
- you'll experience the joy of shared accomplishment;
- you'll have something to help keep your mind active and involved;
- you'll have something to put on your resume, if you're in the workforce, (and your obit if you're later in life!)

If you volunteer you can likely think of more.

The bottom line is to volunteer because it's important to you, not just because someone else says it is.


Mike More said...

Thanks, John

Gail B said...

So important. I have just been re-appointed to a volunteer city advisory cttee, and had lunch with a friend yesterday who is slot-rattling as to where to volunteer. So many of us are burnt out by volunteering, only to have local govs and above take over our roles and marginalize us. So your timely article has been forwarded and much appreciated by my friend.