I’ll get to that in a moment.
Today I attended the orientation to become an American Red Cross volunteer. After 3 hours I can now say that I know significantly more about the history, structure, and goals of the organization. I also learned that Clara Barton’s middle name was Harlow. Go figure.
Some of you might be asking at this very moment, “What is the mission of the Red Cross Joe?”
“The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.”
If you’re interested in helping out you just need to apply on their website. After that, a general orientation will give you an overview of the organization and also allow you to decide in what way you would like to help.
The general orientation is where I was today. And it was in the middle of this orientation that I began to ponder a question. This question only led to other unanswered thoughts. Anyone who knows me might guess that this spiraled into a severe case of day dreaming.
The host of the session was discussing the nature of the Red Cross and how it relies on the efforts of so many volunteers. She mentioned that volunteers–by nature–don’t receive anything for their time. She then pointed out that this wasn’t exactly true. “You’ll receive that warm fuzzy feeling,” she said.
But that begs the question: is volunteering really selfless if we get a feeling of satisfaction from it? And is that “warm, fuzzy feeling” the real motivation for our gift of time? Does it even matter what drives our efforts are as long as we’re giving them? Does anyone not get a feeling of satisfaction from volunteering? Does it even resemble a selfless act if you tell everyone about it on your blog?! 😉
I don’t know if these questions really have answers or simply lead to more questions but I do know that this certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t volunteer. As this diagram reveals, giving your time makes you feel good which leads to more time giving and that leads to more people being served. Everyone wins!
Believe it or not I drew this figure myself.
…Still No Job