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Charter Watch: A volunteer's sharing is unique
Sharing is caring

In our continuing exploration of the messages in the ‘Charter of Volunteerism’, it is not a co-incidence that in December, we focus on what a ‘Volunteer SHARES’, and what ‘Community Service Organizations SHARE’. There is no month in the calendar that is witness to a better opportunity to take a caring and meaningful look at the human capacity to share, particularly in the area of volunteering.

We use the word ‘share’ a lot, but have we paused to reflect on what it truly means? The ‘Charter’ offers a definition for a volunteer and for a community service organization. While certainly not exhaustive, the words provide plenty to think about.

Fundamental to sharing is that you are giving something that is yours. Since volunteering starts with you, you make the critical decision to donate your time, precious because for us time is limited and it’s non-refundable. And, we could quite easily be doing something else. Above all, we try to avoid ‘wasting our time’.

The Festive Season is full of sharing that in fact is ‘tied’. Think of when you share your dinner table, your stories, and exchange gifts. The key word is ‘exchange’. Wrapped up in these activities is expectation, likely of something in return (a present from sis, a story from uncle Ed, a meal next week at grandma’s). 

How is sharing different as a volunteer? A really big difference is that we share ourselves with people we do not know, with strangers. With members of our community from whom we ask and expect nothing in return. Our motives? The third and fourth phrases: “Kindness, empathy for those in need”; “Thoughtfulness, passion, and community spirit”. Based on reasons that are as pure as a fresh blanket of snow. Really to share in this way is a noble act in and of itself.

That having been said, we want to be effective, to make a difference. We look to accomplish and not ‘waste our time’. This is where and how community service organizations share. Of the four points in the ‘Charter’ that relate, “Ways and means for volunteering success” hits closest to home. The other points incline to embrace benefits of sharing by an organization for a volunteer. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!

Out of this is the inescapable conclusion that volunteers and organizations share together, and when that happens, our community becomes an infinitely better place for everyone, with all the volunteering ingredients blended to produce truly special outcomes.

Written by MarComm
Written by MarComm