Volunteering for the sake of volunteering

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Claudia Blackman shares her views on volunteering. Particularly around those volunteers that do it for all the wrong reasons.

“Hi, Claudia. It’s nice to meet you. What do you do?” It’s the standard conversation starter, and I’m proud to say I work in the nonprofit sector. It’s usually followed with “How did you get started in that line of work?” which I wrote about in a previous post.

There are many reasons someone might choose a career path: job security, continuing a family business,  following your passion, to name a few. While every motive for a career is created equal, getting involved for the wrong reasons leads to feelings of emptiness and loss of motivation. As a brother of Alpha Phi Omega at Susquehanna University, I had the privilege of serving alongside 200+ volunteers. The thousands of hours we put in served hundreds of organizations. Yet, when I talked to a few brothers about why they joined, I saw a lack of genuine interest. Some joined because of pressure from friends. Others wanted to pad out their resume and sought personal recognition by the university president and local community. But these disingenuous motives inhibit the progress for the causes and communities being served.

I’ve worked with small organizations in several countries now, and I am constantly inspired by the passion and dedication of people working in this sector. To be disengaged from these volunteer assignments is an insult to those workers who’ve made it their life’s work to serve these impoverished and under-served communities. The next time you lose motivation for this often emotionally taxing work, or you recognize someone’s lack of drive, remember the purpose of nonprofit work. Remember that your work today can change the lives of communities for years to come.

Have questions or comments? Catch me Twitter! @Claudia_B_23 or leave comments below!

Claudia is an aspiring non profiteer from northern New Jersey, with a particular interest in education and youth development.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and dog Bob.

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