Many of us enjoy volunteering our time to worthwhile projects in our church or community. We often combine our volunteer efforts with financial donations. It does not take long before word gets around that we are generous with our time and money. Suddenly everyone is asking us to volunteer one day a week or make generous donations to their cause. It can be overwhelming. Since few of us can say yes to every need, how can we narrow the list to make our time and money count?
Lauren Bush makes these three suggestions in the April 25, 2016 edition of Time magazine:
1. Get specific – pick one charitable organization where you can use your unique skills to make a difference. This allows you to meet specific needs with your specific skills instead of just being a general volunteer.
2. Become a regular – try to volunteer more than just occasionally so that you become a real part of the organization. If we care about the organization’s purpose, then we can leverage our time to make a significant difference.
3. Think about your time creatively – you may not be able to volunteer a whole day but can do an hour or two one evening on the way home from work, consider volunteering WITH your children so it becomes a family activity instead of taking away from it.
I think Lauren has some great advice on this topic. One of these things I have noticed is that sometimes people spread themselves too thin by volunteering for too many organizations or by trying to support too many causes financially. While we should practice a lifestyle of generosity, one $100 gift to an organization that we really care about makes more impact than ten $10 gifts to several charities that we know little about. Volunteering at the same place one time a week for an entire year can produce more long term results than volunteering randomly for different causes.
Though it might make us feel good to be involved in a lot of different things, feeling good should not really be our goal. (Read more about that here.) Our goal should be to make a difference. Focusing our time and money on fewer organizations so that we can do more for those causes will make a real difference.