Why we don't volunteer (Jan Baumann)

The real reason people don’t volunteer is because we don’t have enough people who ask them.
I love this quote because it is so true.

Volunteering has historically played an important role in the United States. Volunteers are wonderful people who are necessary for the health of our society. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is celebrated as a national Day of Service.

We are also a country where three out of four people don’t do it. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service 62.6 million Americans volunteered in 2013. That is about 25% of the adult population. This is according to Greg Baldwin, from VolunteerMatch.org

Why is that? I am always trying to figure out why other people at Westminster don’t volunteer. I suspect some of the following:

• I’m too busy.
• Someone else will volunteer.
• I volunteered while my kids were little because I felt obligated and I am done.
• They don’t need me.
• I don’t have the skills they need; I am not who they are looking for.
• The obligation is not clear, or there is no end to the obligation.
• I showed up but they didn’t have anything for me to do or I wasn’t busy enough.
• I don’t think the work is meaningful.

What I hear the most, by far, is that no one asked me to volunteer. This is usually followed by a thank you for the invitation. A study by Gallup concluded that people are more than four times as likely to volunteer when they’re asked as when they’re not. Putting a volunteer opportunity in a publication (like our bulletin) is essentially asking no one.

So, when we wonder why more people aren’t standing beside us in our volunteer role, it is important to think about who we can ask to join us. We can meet someone new and more hands make the work go faster and more fun. Please don’t volunteer alone; invite someone to be a part of what you are involved in doing at Westminster.

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