Tuesday, May 15, 2012

National Volunteering Week

It's National Volunteering Week, which is great. Volunteering is a beautiful thing where everyone benefits.

But did you ever stop to consider that it might be more productive to use those volunteering hours to instead work extra hours in a paid job that you're qualified in, excel in, and probably already work in?

You might not feel as if that's as worthwhile, but you could then take the money you earn from those extra hours and donate them to a cause or a charity you believe in.

With this income the charity could hire someone to do the work you were about to volunteer to do. Realistically, for the amount you've donated, they could probably hire someone to do more hours then you were going to give. They can probably get someone that's better at it than you are. Someone who's qualified. Someone who is going to turn up reliably because, let's face it, you were probably going to flake out after a couple of weeks. Instead they can hire someone who needs the work. You'd be lifting someone out of unemployment. You'd be helping our economy.

It doesn't feel as warm and fuzzy, does it? But economically and financially it probably makes sense.

You should feel good about that. And you should get back to work.

Here's Bill Clinton planting a tree as a volunteer:

But Bill Clinton earns around $181,000 for a paid speaking engagement. Instead of using this time to plant a tree would he have been better off using the time to speak and donating that money to employ some professional gardeners? $181,000 would get you about 18,100 hours of gardening time if you're paying 10 bucks an hour. You could get 10 people in to full-time employment for a year for that.

Of course, I'm just being facetious. I get it that there is a lot more to it than that. It's about what you gain from the experience as a volunteer. It's about donating your own unique skills. It's about making amazing connections you wouldn't normally make. And I genuinely believe we can make a difference by volunteering. Check out http://www.volunteer.ie/ to find an opportunity now.

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