Volunteering – Giving and “Getting”

mitzvahs

I was reminded of a lesson yesterday. Funny because it’s one I’ve given speeches about and even write about in my book, but I guess we all need reminders now and then. The lesson is that volunteering is not all about what you can give to any person, committee or group. It’s also about the unexpected benefits you’ll receive when you volunteer.

I was invited to join the 2012 auction committee at our synagogue by an acquaintance who is chairing the committee. When she called me she said, “We would really love your energy, your ideas and your help on this committee, can you join us?” All I could think about was some of the other times I have served on auction committees or chaired them myself and how much work they involve. I started hemming and hawing about how the book was launching and this would be a tough time for me to commit to anything else. She reassured me that I should just come to the meeting and do whatever I could to help and that would be enough.

Anyway, I was tired last night when I got ready to go to the meeting. I have hosted several meals this week for the holiday of Sukkot and the last thing I really felt like doing was going to a meeting. But here’s the funny thing. The meeting felt more like a party. There were more than a dozen people there (the largest auction committee I have ever served on) and she was serving wine! While we did get our agenda accomplished and began to sign up for our subcommittee jobs, we also brainstormed idea, mingled and shmoozed. I got reacquainted with the realtor who sold us our house almost 17 years ago who I never run into and is also on the committee. I met two new women and felt an instant kinship with one of them. I left the meeting excited to serve on this fun committee and  was looking forward to the event we would create for our synagogue.

So when you are invited to participate or help with an event or serve on a committee remember that it’s not all about what you can give to the organization, there are significant benefits to you as well. This goes for any volunteer work you do. Here are just a couple of ways volunteering can be beneficial. You can:

•  find employment •  make new friends •  find role models •  build self-confidence and gain self-esteem

I invite you to take on a volunteer task simply to remember that it’s not all about what you give but also the unexpected surprises you’ll get back!

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