Nobody has ever argued that volunteerism is a negative thing. As a society, we have a soft spot for those who make a difference in the world without expecting anything in return. Charitable individuals volunteer their time, money, and effort to bring smiles, companionship and much-needed services to people in difficult situations. However, it can be hard to recruit volunteers, even with the support of people around you who believe your project is a great idea.
Why is it so hard to get people to commit to volunteering?
The first major hurdle is typically a mental one. Many people simply don’t feel as if they can volunteer. That may be because they have bought into one of the many myths associated with volunteering.
Myth #1 – I don’t have the skills.
Often what holds us back is believing that we have nothing to offer. Planting trees or sewing blankets sound like great ideas, but if you’ve never planted a seed or held a needle it can be pretty daunting.
Remember that there are still plenty of ways you can contribute to your community. Volunteer to read stories at your local library. Offer to transport clothing donations to their respective destinations. Remember that there are plenty of people who are willing to help you learn whatever it is that you need to know. The first step is reaching out.
Myth #2 – I don’t have the time.
Just because a charitable event is said to be scheduled all day does not mean you are obligated to volunteer your time for its entirety. You can simply spend one hour helping out if your schedule is a little tighter. Should you be concerned with missing family time due to volunteering, fear not. There are plenty of organizations and activities that call for group volunteering.
Myth #3 – The project is too small.
Handing out blankets and socks may not solve the problem of worldwide homelessness. But, to the recipients of those clean socks and warm blankets, this small act can be monumental. It’s easy to get so overwhelmed by the size of the problem, and that stress can push us into inaction.
Volunteers should never think that their small projects and individual acts have no real effect on the bigger issue and expect bigger, more powerful organizations to address it themselves. The truth is that change is the result of millions of small actions all over the world. You never know how impactful your individual act of kindness can be regardless of size.