In today’s world of doing good for others, I find it interesting that while many participate in volunteer organizations, there is an equal or greater amount of people who don’t. Their reasons vary. No time. Too much politics. No action. Too much bureaucracy. My service will not make a difference. Poor communication.
What separates those that participate from those that don’t is their passion for the mission or organization they are involved in. The fascinating thing about the excuses people give to not participate accurately describe the flaws or pitfalls in a volunteer organization.
Volunteers have the same complaints but show up because they have some attachment to the mission or organization. Their passion sometimes crosses generations. Other times, the grow into a love for the mission or organization.
The challenge for those in leadership positions in volunteer organizations is trying to listen to different and sometimes conflicting points of view and assimilating some aspect of each point of view into a direction that nurtures engagement and generates results.
Some volunteer leaders do this better than others. I find that there is great reward in volunteering your time for the good of others. We can all use practice at developing the patience to work with others. This is a selfish payoff that is rarely considered.
Developing the patience to work with others is a harder skill to develop than buying from a company that donates a dollar to a cause you identify with. If you currently volunteer, please think about how your skill in working with others has developed. Are their ways that you can be more effective by understanding who you are and how you react to situations?
If you don’t currently volunteer, I get it. But just because you know the pitfalls, don’t use them as an excuse to run away from the messiness of life that each of us confront in our daily lives with others. We could all use more practice at working together while doing some good for others.
All of us can use the practice.