Stan's World: Giving BackSubmitted by S. F. Ehrlich Associates, Inc. on January 3rd, 2018
December 31, 2017
I suspect more than a few of you have made a New Year’s resolution or two for 2018. Lose weight? Exercise more? Eat healthier? Drive less aggressively (for NJ residents only)? While I typically don’t make New Year’s resolutions, this year I have one I’m going to work on, and I invite everyone to join me: I need a new volunteer gig.
While John and I do pro bono planning work throughout the year - we get referrals from a social service agency, accountants, and clients - I need to do something unrelated to personal finance. For the past three years, I served as the president of my college fraternity’s house corporation, aka the landlord. Without getting into details, suffice it to say my boys ‘colored outside the lines’ and ended a chapter that had endured for 107 years, thus abruptly ending my service.
I can’t speak for others, but I find that volunteering helps me to maintain perspective. Every Christmas, for example, Pearl and I work in the same soup kitchen, helping to feed a few hundred people. (We’re the proud turkey carvers!) The experience has never failed to reinforce how grateful we are for what we have.
As much charitable work as I may think I do, I’m aware of clients who put me to shame. Their efforts have brought life-altering changes to many people, and I hope they realize how many lives they’ve improved. Regretfully, despite the efforts and money contributed by so many, there’s a limitless amount of more work to be done.
Doing charitable work isn’t for everyone, but if you haven’t done it in a while, think about re-engaging. You might not find the most fulfilling job the first time around, but don’t be dismayed. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
Pearl and I have had a variety of experiences over the years, so I’m happy to brainstorm with you if you don’t know where to start. (I concede that many non-profits prefer checks to labor, which sometimes makes finding a good fit a little harder. But persistence pays off.)
As for us, we’re going to return to the soup kitchen to work in their Farmer’s Market. (The Farmer’s Market collects overstock food from multiple supermarkets. Individuals can stock up on whatever they need.)
Maybe the experience will work for me, or maybe I’ll move on. But my goal is to find that new gig in 2018, and I hope you’ll consider doing the same.
(NOTE: If you have a moment, share your volunteer experience(s) with us so we can pass ideas along to clients. No names will be used.)