It is a sad fact of modern life that charitable organisations have become something of a necessity. Charities are set up to help people who can’t cope with a world structured like ours. When the needy, the sick, the vulnerable are not cared for well enough by governing authorities, it is left up to generous volunteers to step in.
There are a thousand reasons to choose to spend some time working with a charity. Some people decide to give something back to a society that has helped them. Others see a misfortune or an injustice that they want to give their time and energy to change.
Some people genuinely enjoy hosting bring-and-buy sales.
But a lot of the most rewarding things about helping a charity are things that people can’t properly understand until they experience them first hand.
THE FEELING OF GIVING
It might seem one of the most obvious things, but the value of the feeling of giving is hugely underestimated. Almost everyone knows a little about the positive kick you get after doing something nice for others – whether it’s because you regularly go out of your way to help others or because, perhaps just once or twice, you’ve found someone the most perfect birthday present ever. Once you make a conscious decision to devote your spare time and resources to a worthy cause – and you see that resolution through – that great feeling is multiplied with each good deed you do.
SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Any charity work that stands a chance of making a difference can’t be done by just one person. To accomplish anything, there has to be a whole team of people working together with a common goal. Working with other people, particularly for a cause that you all equally believe in, generates a sense of community and common purpose that is difficult to find elsewhere. Sharing the brunt of a big task with others is rewarding in itself. When you add to it the effort you make to bring in yet more people – to ask them to share some time with you, or a handful of change, or a spare tin of beans – every successful donation makes that good feeling swell.
FAITH IN HUMANITY
Although, like any organisation, charities need administrators and organisers who work largely alone, most volunteers will be the foot soldiers who go out to fundraise or counsel or generate interest in the charity’s work. That places each individual volunteer at the forefront of other people’s generosity. As a field worker for a charity, you see every person willing to give. Admittedly, there will be a handful of people who tell you that you’re wasting your time, that you’re just making some con artist rich, that you’re begging. There will be a huge number of people who walk past you as if you don’t exist. That can be heart-breaking when the collection box for your good cause is empty while they walk off jangling with change. But all of those people melt into nothing when someone does dig out a few coins for you. And for everyone who tells you it’s not worth your effort, there is someone else who tells you that they’re grateful that someone is doing something useful.