Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What I’m Hearing…National Volunteer Week

If you haven’t already heard, this week (April 28 – May 2) is National Volunteer Week. How many times have we taken volunteers for granted? Although volunteers are unpaid, so many non-profits function effectively in the community because of their volunteers’ contributions. What would happen to your local hospital, library, or school, if the volunteers stopped helping? Volunteer recruitment, retention, and motivation are no less challenging than for paid team members. If you haven’t said “thank you” lately to the volunteers you encounter in your professional and personal lives, be sure to say something this week.

In addition to thanking those who help us, have you examined the volunteer opportunities in your life? If you haven’t been active, now is a great time to get involved. I suspect I do more than most when it comes to volunteering. Between sitting on the board of HR/NY (New York City’s SHRM chapter), helping out with special HR/NY projects, serving a 3-year term with SHRM’s Total Rewards Special Expertise Panel, and giving back as a peer reviewer for SHRM and WorldatWork publications, I sometimes think that my volunteer activities could make up a full-time job! However, giving back to the professional community, networking, and making a difference in others’ lives make the time and talent contribution worth it. Start small – either professionally or personally – and see how good it feels to give back. Once you start, you’ll be hooked.

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