National Volunteer Week is a great time not only to recognize those who serve but to talk about the qualities of a successful volunteer. To paraphrase spiritual leader and author Elizabeth Andrew, volunteers don’t always have the time; they just have the heart! Volunteers reflect unselfish caring and patience. Giving back is a way of life.
Interestingly, we all can learn a lot by being a volunteer. We learn about time management, communication and leadership, and above all, service. Volunteering isn’t just about money. While fundraising is important, volunteering often is about time —something we all have that can be more valuable than money.
What makes a good volunteer? First, good volunteers think creatively; they’re not locked into the obvious. Secondly, good volunteers aren’t afraid of the “what if”. Thirdly, successful volunteers aren’t afraid to take initiative; they recognize the goal and have ideas on how to achieve that goal. Sometimes, that goal may not be what the volunteer had in mind, but they’re flexible enough to recognize that and work within the team. Problem-solving and adaptability are vital skills for teamwork. A fourth and final characteristic is passion; it may just be the superpower behind volunteers who get involved, stay involved and strive to achieve.
If you’re considering becoming a volunteer, think about skills you have to offer and don’t be afraid to use them. Volunteering is a part of philanthropy and is at the core of being human. Volunteering is the voice of the people put into action.
Becoming a volunteer is a worthy investment and learning experience that teaches us how to manage time, communicate with others and become a leader!