By Half-Ogre, the TMG Librarian
According to Webster's Dictionary, the definition of Volunteer is --- n. 1) a person who chooses freely to do or offer to do something with no promise of compensation. --- adj. 1) serving as a volunteer, usually without compensation. --- vt. 1) to freely choose to offer or give without being asked or obliged. --- vi. 1) to freely choose to enter or offer to enter into any service. Well, that's the literal translation. But what does it really mean?
To answer this nagging question, I went out and asked a few people to tell me what it meant to them in a few words. Here is a sampling of the responses I received: "free labor;" "dedicated help;" "lack of compensation;" "working for what you think is worthwhile and believe in;" "accomplish a need at hand without any prompting;" "donating your time and skills to complete a worthy task;" "giving of yourself;" "agree to work and put your heart into it;" "giving of yourself to something you believe in;" "giving of time and effort;" All of these are very good answers to my question. So it would seem that volunteering means to believe in and help support a cause or task through time, effort, and skills for free without compensation or compulsion.
Well, that's just great ... but, in my case, it seems that statement doesn't quite apply, because I feel I do receive compensation – It just isn't in a monetary form. For the time and effort I invest, I get personal satisfaction knowing that the cause I support will continue and grow. I get educational and networking opportunities while supporting my cause. I get some respect and admiration of my peers. I feel a great sense of pride and personal esteem in being a part of a major event as it succeeds and comes to fruition. I get to enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship of my colleagues. I gain valuable insights into teamwork and get to be a responsible team player. I gain wisdom and knowledge from various and interesting people whom I am proud to know. I receive many compliments and heartfelt thanks for a job well done. I gain so much more with intangible assets that have a greater value to me than I would ever have if I was paid a cash amount. You just can't buy the kind of satisfaction that comes with volunteering and knowing you did a wonderful thing that touched so many and did so much.
It's like dropping a pebble into a pool of still water and watching the ripples spread across the surface, then echo back with sympathetic vibrations. Nothing is left unaffected by that single event. That's how I feel about volunteering. Maybe you would like to volunteer and see what it means to you. Please consider volunteering for TMG or any other local Lifestyle group that you enjoy. They all need your help and support to survive and grow. It takes more than money for an organization to function.