Since an early age, children are encouraged to play in groups, join a team or play sports. Whether it was ballet or basketball, chances are you were part of something bigger — you played, you learned, you made new friends, you sharpened your people-skills, learned how to share and were able to develop your strengths and discover your weaknesses.
It seems once you entered the workforce, there were less opportunities, and less time, to get involved. Eventually, the rhythm of a 9 to 5 starts to feel like Groundhog Day and you long for something more meaningful. The reasons why people get involved are always different. Some want to reconnect with an old hobby and teach others to do what they love. Some want to use their brainpower and experience for a greater good and offer advice to individuals who need it. Some want to make sure kids graduate high school so their career options in adulthood remain open.
“Once you’ve settled on a cause, it’s time to actually get involved. This is when the time, talent or treasure mantra comes into play.”
No one can deny that being involved creates a feeling of fellowship. Your community may be your church, the group of new moms you met at your kid’s school, fellow dog lovers at the park, marathon enthusiasts or a support group of families who are raising a child with a disability. All of these are ways in which we connect with our passions and with people who share in our common interests and struggles. It takes a village to raise a community.
For people who haven’t discovered their giving niche, the first step is always the hardest. It involves finding what moves you, what changes you want to see happening and the type of people you want to help. Once you’ve established that, start researching organizations that benefit the things that matter to you. See what programs they offer, send out emails, make phone calls — ask what their “wishlist” needs are and see if you’re a good fit. Subscribe to an event listing that notifies you of when and where you can meet and mingle with other like-minded change-makers. Get to know people, discuss missions and goals, share how you think you can contribute. The ways to get involved are endless.
Once you’ve settled on a cause, it’s time to actually get involved. This is when the time, talent or treasure mantra comes into play. Sure, organizations need big dollars to fuel their respective missions, but don’t overlook the value of the time you can volunteer or the talent that you can offer to make a difference. Your party-planning expertise can help pull off a stunning fundraising gala, your savvy computer skills can help streamline a virtual application process, and your creative mind can help orchestrate a buzz-worthy awareness campaign. Have a free day? Use it to give back, and get a happiness boost in return.