How to Keep from Navel-Gazing: The Value of Donating Your Time

Thursday, August 30, 2012

happyWe all get flyers and letters in the mail throughout the year asking us to donate money to charities.  The mailings seem to get most intense towards the end of the year, with organizations incentivizing donors to give using the end-of-the-year deadline for charitable tax deductions on personal income tax returns.  My husband and I do make monetary donations throughout the year to a few charities, but I find that giving my time brings me a greater “return” than any kind of tax savings we realize from those monetary donations.  I get so much more back personally by participating in a fundraising event or helping out during an organization-sponsored activity. I meet people who benefit from the charity’s work, and I get an opportunity to connect with others who value the same kinds of ideals/principles that I do. Either way, I am inspired to do more good in this world, and motivated to make the most of the talent and resources available to me.

It’s convenient to write a check and mail it in as my time is at a premium balancing caring for our young daughter and family activities with full-time employment, but I believe in the importance of giving my time to something more meaningful and bigger than me. I can’t participate in all the organizations or activities I used to or want to, but I have picked a few to stay involved with.  I also want to establish a pattern of behaviors that teach our daughter that the world is about more than just what she wants and thinks she “needs.”  I read an article this week about one mother’s opinion about our society’s increasing lack of tolerance for the needs of other people. Scary thought, really.  Volunteering is one way I try to keep from navel-gazing. It helps me remember I walk this earth with other people. I hope to pass that appreciation on to our daughter not just by saying, but by doing, what I think is important. I plan to bring her with me when she is older to different activities so we can learn together – hopefully as a happy participant, or involuntarily because I know she will thank me later (right?).

I am not being totally altruistic with my “donation,” I suppose, however it seems like a fair exchange to me ! If you have time to donate, I would recommend you try it out and see the new perspective you’ll gain.

- Posted by Attorney Lisa Montoni Garvin

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