The Voluntaryist Lifestyle
Being a Voluntaryist and writing about it is one of the hardest things to do primarily because true voluntaryists do not go looking for recognition or praise for their efforts.
Recently I was awarded Volunteer of the Year for 2017 by our local Chamber of Commerce. When I say local, it sounds like a small town thing, but our district covers about 10% of British Columbia. So that's an honor for sure. What disappointed me though wasn't the public recognition, it was the fact that there were only 3 other candidates in that category.
Other categories are more widely admired and desired such as 'Customer Service' awards, or 'Business of the Year' mostly because we attribute some kind of monetary gain to these awards. A measure of success somehow.
How do we go about encouraging more people to volunteer? How do we nurture the voluntaryist lifestyle in others?
I believe that if you are a volunteer that you need to bring others alongside you to see the work that you do and the intrinsic rewards that are built into being a volunteer. It could be a smile from someone, or receiving a genuine "thank you" or maybe just getting no thanks at all the whole day.
We all know that 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people, but what about the rest of them? What could we achieve in a community, city, or even country wide if we had 20% or even 30% of the people volunteering? Would we need as much money for social programs? Would we need assistance from corporations or governments? Would we need government at all? It’s something I want you to think about...
For me personally, I humbly accept the reward, but I know what my real aim is for next year and it’s not to win the award again. No, next year I want to see the nominations for Volunteer of the Year as big as the Customer Service category! And it will start by inviting one person at a time from that 90% pool.
If you are not a volunteer, but have heard about this voluntaryist lifestyle, I encourage you to get connected with any program you can to start serving your fellow people. Maybe it means watching one less TV show, or waking up a bit earlier, but everyone can find somewhere to help out even if for 1 hr per week. Get in the habit of helping other and not accepting cash rewards. Instead, ask them to help out the next person and pay it forward. It really does work and it helps promote more volunteers.
Wishing all the volunteers out there the very best and a firm 'thank you' for what you do. We all won this award.