I am not sure what David Cameron’s Big Society is about, I
am not even sure that “Call me Dave” even knows, but if we are ALL going to get
through the next couple of years, we all need to muck in within the community.
With the current economic climate, recently a number of
organisations and individuals have asked, will I be changing my CSR policy with
regards to my current volunteering responsibilities.
My answer to this is that while both Maximum Impact Solutions
and I will not be taking on any further volunteering roles on, we will still be
honouring our current commitments.
When Maximum Impact Solutions was set up, in 2001, we
decided that we would always give something back to the community, by using our
skills, knowledge and personal experiences to help others, at the grass root
level, achieve, and we feel that now more than ever that we keep this
When I look back at my tough and challenging childhood, I remember
that at key stages of my upbringing, that there was always one person who took
a personal interest, to motivate, inspire and give me the confidence to reach
my personal goals, and that if they had not done this, I doubt very much that I
would be where I am now, and the kind of person I am today.
I am constantly being asked two questions:
- How much time does volunteering take up? and
- What do you get out of it?
In answer to question 1, all my volunteering roles takes up
roughly 5 days a month.
With regards to question 2, the fact that you can make a
difference to someone else’s life, by just taking the time to listen, mentor,
challenge and/or sound board ideas, leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling
In addition to this, one gets to meet and mix with other like
minded individuals and organisations, which under normal circumstances would be
out of one’s circles and/or networks, thus providing further opportunities,
both personally and for business.
Last week, during a discussion, I heard that a number of
councils were issuing compulsory redundancies within the North West area, and
the topic of volunteering came up.
The following comments were made:
"Why would anyone want to volunteer?"
"What would motivate someone to work for nothing?"
"The only people that will be able to volunteer will be those that are retired"
"People cannot afford to volunteer, when they lose one income to the household"
Ironically all the comments and/or statements, put volunteering in a negative light, and they missed positive opportunities possible.
Volunteering gives one the opportunity to learn new skills,
that might be out of the realm of one’s day to day job role, and provide you
with an insight to other people’s existence that you may not be fully aware
of. It takes one out of one’s comfort
zones, which makes for an interesting method of personal development.
I think it is a great shame if businesses and/or individuals
stop volunteering, as this provides great opportunities, in more ways than
one. Maybe the days of just issuing a
cheque have gone, but surely volunteering ones skills and knowledge, for a
fixed amount of time per month pro bono, would go a whole lot further than a
monthly contribution of £100? Plus this is great free PR for any organisation
wishing to distinguish themselves from the competition
Last week I was privileged enough to be invited to the 2010 North
West Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards.
It was great to see young people in a positive light, being showcased achieving
great success, while overcoming great personal and social challenges.
It was this event, and other events like these, that remind
me why it is important that both as a business and as an individual that we continue
to volunteer within the community.