Every quarter as I sit at the finance council meeting for the church, I hear the same concern brought up. “How do we emphasize ‘time and talent’ to our parishioners?” This is a common dilemma for organizations, non-profits, churches and clubs. It isn’t always about the money. Sometimes the issue is simply having bodies to help do the vast array of jobs that need to be done.
With my example of the church, every committee relies on volunteers. New member welcome committee, religious education, building and grounds, parish council, angel tree and finance council just to name a few. Each week, the success of the mass itself relies on the ministries volunteers who do such tasks as greet parishioners, sing in the choir, read from the bible and handle the donations and offerings. Even the altar servers are all volunteers, mostly children. Larger churches have even more groups and committees and often have a list readily available for people to look over.
When I was in high school, a mandatory assignment for seniors was to have service hours working with the elderly. You know what they wanted us to do? Sit, talk and listen to senior citizens. Why? Because there was a need and it was something that only required an investment of time. As I got older, I saw first hand the value of spending time with an elderly or home-bound person when I made regular trips to visit my 90-year old grandmother, have lunch with her and sit and chat. It made me appreciate the high school assignment even more because I was able to witness the effects through different eyes.
High school students around here are required to have a certain number of service hours to graduate. There are some limitations but for the most part, what they do to earn those hours is entirely up to them. Some volunteer baby sitting services, others work at a local sporting event or assist with elementary school fairs or festivals. A handful even create their own charitable organizations.
People hear the word philanthropy and generally think of money. For some, financial contribution is a viable option but for others it is not. In those cases, “Time and Talent” are the answer. An accountant, business person or someone with a knack for math is ideal for a financial position at the church, working with Junior Achievement or serving as treasurer on the PTA, for a club or charitable organization. People who are social or good with children can help with religious education or vocation at church, assist at the library, serve as a scoutmaster or coach a sports team. People skilled with their hands can assist with building projects or maintenance. Everyone has something they can contribute, it is just a matter of finding what and where. Volunteers are needed at animal shelters, schools, libraries, museums, blood drives, soup kitchens, chamber of commerce and more.
If you want to get involved but aren’t sure what to do, check with your city or reach out to organizations within your community and ask what they need help with. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Chamber of Commerce
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Habitat for Humanity
March of Dimes
Meals on Wheels
You know what you are good at… if you want to make a difference, consider giving of yourself to an organization that needs you.