Thoughts on Volunteering and Random Acts of Kindness

MOFB

Volunteering is a symbiotic endeavor in that in impacts the volunteer as much as it impacts the organization, individual and/or community receiving the volunteer’s time and dedication.

Every time I see a business provide a paid day for its employees to go volunteer or a professional group ban together to incorporate volunteerism into their meetings and plans, it makes me happy and proud of my community. And, when I see organizations that need volunteers finding creative ways to recruit and engage new audiences, well that’s even more exciting.

The United Way has a brilliant campaign underway (Cbus Love Coming Your Way, Sept. 8-12) that makes connecting with a volunteer opportunity easy and fun. They are rallying Columbus to volunteer this week and they’ve provided a robust menu of one-off opportunities each day for the community to choose from.

This idea is smart on several levels. First it provides a simple straightforward way for anyone to find and register for a volunteer event this week; second, it allows people to volunteer once for an organization to see if it’s a good fit; third, they are leveraging social media to ensure that the volunteers can share their experience, feel good about it and, feel connected to each other.

The United Way campaign is only one week, once a year. So, what happens next week? What creative ways can we all come up with find volunteer opportunities that inspire us? How can our local businesses and organizations help enable volunteerism and foster a spirit of community engagement? These aren’t rhetorical questions, I’d love to hear ideas from my friends, colleagues and peers.

Another call to action on the United Way Cbus Love campaign is geared toward young professionals. It invites them to share random acts of kindness and service using #CbusYpsDoGood.

I love it, but I want to see it go farther and last longer. I think we should “borrow” the idea and invite everyone of all ages to do it all year long. For instance, what if we each tried to commit one random act of kindness a week and then shared it via #CbusDoGood (on your channel of choice)?

Imagine what our community would be like if we did.

Image: The GCAC team taking a day to volunteer at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

— Tom Katzenmeyer, Keep up with Tom’s adventures on Twitter: @tomkatzenmeyer