Volunteer Positions: How do you pick the best one for you?

Ringing the Liberty Bell!
July 4, 2017 – Liberty Bell

Being the Secretary for the Nevada Sagebrush chapter has given me such an amazing opportunity to really get to know our members! I still remember when I joined in February 2017, and the regent at the time asked me to join the board as their recording and corresponding secretary. I was so honored and excited to be involved that I didn’t think twice, I accepted and jumped in with both feet!

Looking back, I wouldn’t change my decision, but perhaps I would have given it more thought first. The main thought being: do I really have time to be their secretary while I’m working full-time and also going to grad-school full-time? In retrospect, probably not. Regardless, I still managed to do my job, serve as secretary, and pass my classes. I’d say, I handled it just fine.

But then I added more.

When those classes ended, I had a void in my schedule which needed to be filled so I offered to re-design my chapter’s website. The website was exactly the kind of project I enjoy! CSS coding, styling decisions, photoshop designs, etc. – right up my alley!
I thought: well, I still have some time available, so why not volunteer at the Hillside Cemetery? Ensue graveyard maintenance with cleaning, hoeing, digging, and more.
My chapter asked me to be the Historic Preservation Committee chairman which – when combined with our Northern Nevada Chapters Project meant that I would need to attend not only my own board meetings, but the board meetings for the Hillside Cemetery.

All of these volunteer positions in combination are too much to handle at once.

I didn’t regret any of my decisions up to this point, but I did have to step back and realize that I couldn’t do it all. I am only human, and having no rest and relaxation time was killing me.

Something’s ‘gotta give, but what? This is where my question comes in:

When it comes to choosing volunteer positions, how do you choose which positions are best for you?

1. Look at Your Lifestyle

Volunteering is fun and a great way to meet new people, but there is a fine line that separates what you are and are not capable of doing.

Do you have enough time for the projects you’re involving yourself with? If you find yourself over-exhausted and/or “snippy” then it may be time to reflect on what is causing those symptoms.

2. For Work or Pleasure?

Why are you doing this? Is it because it makes you happy? Then by all means – do it! Cut out some of the things that are causing you distress and replace them with what makes you happy!

If you are volunteering as a way to increase your chances of earning a higher position at work, or a new position in general, then you need to focus-in on the kind of volunteering that you do – which leads to number three.

3. Does Volunteering Add Value?

This value can be just for you, for the world, or for people in general. Value is what you make of it. In this instance, however, I would pose this in regards to you as an individual.

  • If you are volunteering to improve your professional place in the world, volunteer in something that reflects on your professional interest.
  • If you are volunteering to improve your personal outlook or interests, volunteer in something that you would be proud to share with friends and family.
  • If you are a “faceless” volunteer – i.e. you don’t want anyone to know-, then make sure that you volunteer in something that isn’t well-known for doing public events, announcements, etc.

Volunteering is a wonderful and amazing thing to do for the community!
If you are able to do something, anything at all, I encourage you to do it!
If nothing else, at least try something new!

Encourage more people to volunteer!
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