The Power of Giving

The final weeks of 2017 are ticking by, and we are rapidly approaching a new year. It is hard to deny that this really is the most wonderful time of the year. Although I am a strong believer that this season is to be celebrated no earlier than December 1st, I definitely appreciate all the joy and thankfulness that comes with it. I also appreciate that this season tends to soften people’s hearts, and there is an urgency to give and serve others. But that urgency shouldn’t disappear when the holiday season does. I know it is hard to find time to give back to the community with work obligations, family responsibilities, and social engagements – I am right there with you – but it doesn’t take much to make a huge difference.

I attribute my passion for volunteering to my 10+ years as a 4-H member. I spent countless weekends volunteering in my community, whether it was picking up walnuts in a community member’s backyard or organizing a canned food drive. To be honest, it felt more like a chore back then, but it helped me realize there is always a need to be met.

I have yet to encounter someone that sees volunteering as a poor use of their time. Most are filled with a kind of joy that is hard to get from doing anything else. An article written in Forbes illustrates there are true benefits to being charitable and some may be surprising:​

  1. Volunteering time makes you feel like you have more time.
  2. Volunteering your skills helps you develop new skills.
  3. Volunteering your body helps you have a healthier body.
  4. Volunteering your experience helps build your experience.
  5. Volunteering your love makes you feel more love.

It appears that through the act of giving to others, you are actually giving yourself quite a bit in return. I am not saying you have to go start a non-profit, but research shows you’ll experience a positive shift in your life by volunteering as little as two hours a week. At the start of each 4-H meeting, we recited a pledge:

“As a loyal 4-H member, I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

I always liked that pledge because the focus was on bettering the world around me, on a micro and macro level, through the simple act of giving. So in this time of charitability, I encourage you to look at the needs in your community and see where you may be of service, and maybe it is only for a season but I bet, like the Grinch, your heart will grow three sizes, and you’ll continue to find ways to serve!

About the Author
Janae Swartz is a consultant with Morrison, working primarily in our People Solutions practice. To get in touch with Janae, please find contact information for Morrison here.


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