CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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December 2013
 
 

Why is it So Hard to Find Time to Volunteer?

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By Marcia Gallos, FCIA

As we are all hustling and bustling getting ready for the holiday season, I am reminded of how difficult it is to make time for all the things I find important, like volunteering. Below, I’ve presented some small tips for what works for me (most of the time) . . .
 
In the new year, I will resume profiling our more decorated volunteers. But, in the interim, here are some key statistics about those who have been successful fitting in helping out with the CIA.

Best wishes to all for a merry holiday season and safe and happy new year!

Key Statistics – CIA Volunteer Awards

The CIA volunteer awards program was established in 2000, and since the program’s inception, the Institute has presented:

  • 58 gold awards;
  • 227 silver awards; and
  • 549 bronze awards.

Did you know? Producing the awards ceremony, accompanying brochure, and recipient list is a task conducted annually by a group of dedicated CIA Head Office staff and the Committee on Volunteer Initiatives. The exercise takes a couple of months and includes volunteer service calculations and reviews, award recipient interviews, and the compilation and coordination of the ceremony materials, brochure, and corresponding Annual Meeting luncheon activities.

How Can I Make Time to Volunteer?

There are 8,760 hours in a year (720 hours in a month, 168 hours in a week, 24 hours in a day). Surely it shouldn’t be that hard to give an hour a month. For those familiar with Franklin Covey programming, it’s all about the "Q2" in our lives. In other words, making time for what you find important and fulfilling.

And it’s not enough to just find the work fulfilling; you also have to act. You have to make a conscious decision to create the time in your schedule and make choices.

Some tips that work for me:

  • Accountability: find a "volunteer buddy". Similar to the success model for dieting and exercising, commit to a certain time per month with a friend/colleague, and meet to discuss progress opposite the goal.
  • Routine: make a specific volunteer opportunity a weekly, monthly, or even yearly tradition so it is just as important as a birthday or holiday.
  • Less is more: choose committees and activities that require less of a commitment. When you have a little free time, you can spontaneously decide to participate. Sometimes, that is enough to get the ball rolling, and makes future volunteer opportunities seem less daunting and more manageable.
  • Carpe diem: seize unexpected free time like snow days as opportunities to volunteer. Plan to volunteer on statutory holidays when there is no work.
  • Plan for it: consider taking a volunteer vacation. The next time you take a few days to travel, think about using a portion of your time off to help out.
  • Find your motivation: you are far more likely to make time to volunteer when you care about an issue. Figure out what moves you and you’ll find the time.

Getting Started: All You Have to Do is Say Yes!

  1. Go to the CIA website. Log in to the Members section. On the left-hand-side navigation panel, click on My Profile > My Volunteer Profile > Update Volunteer Profile. Once you’ve completed the Update Volunteer Profile form to indicate your skills, experience, and general interests, go to the Modify My Committee and Task Force Interests form to indicate specific volunteer committees that you are interested in joining.
  2. Press your case. If you have a strong interest in a specific committee, contact the CIA or committee chair. They will be happy to provide you with more information or to invite you to a meeting. You can also gain a feel for what each committee does by visiting the Volunteer Booth at many CIA meetings.
  3. Make it a priority. Understand the time commitment required for the volunteer position and set aside time in your schedule. Communicate any concerns to the committee chair and allow them to help you in assessing whether the opportunity is right for you.
  4. Get your employer on board. In many cases, volunteering can actually bring value to your employer. Many committees might overlap with your work or provide you with valuable training and experience. In many cases, you may be able to designate work time towards volunteering.
  5. Stay tuned. Keep reading the Volunteers’ Corner articles in the (e)Bulletin.
  6. Check out the resources for volunteers in the Volunteer Centre on the CIA website.

Marcia Gallos, FCIA, is Chair of the New Members Committee, former chair of the Committee on Volunteer Initiatives, and a member of the Member Services Council.

 

 

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