I was just reading a blog on the AFP’s website and it asked the question Why. Actually, that was the name of the blog. Why. Assuming the author had forgotten to complete the title of his blog, I clicked the link and found quite the opposite.
I’ve been reading quite a bit on the overall AFP website regarding National Philanthropy Day – it’s coming up early in December. Centered around this “holiday” is the AFP’s Contest asking Who is Your Philanthropic Hero? Great question and those of you (us) involved with nonprofits probably have a “hero” of sorts in mind.
The more I read and see others claiming their hero, the less my hero is actually a human being. My hero…my original motivation for being involved at all with nonprofit leadership etc, is Blackbaud. Not that I didn’t know about philanthropy prior to Blackbaud. What I didn’t know was how many nonprofits there were, and how they could be “single handedly changing the world” as we speak. I learned that from Blackbaud.
Never mind that encouraged volunteerism became a part of my life – I loved volunteering for the SPCA (now the Charleston Animal Society) for a couple of years. I was able to live out my dream of having puppies and kittens all around…without the incurred expense of having anything more than one cat at the house. It was heaven.
We ‘get something’ for volunteering as an employee. But you know what? I think I realized a long time ago that I’d volunteer with or without payback. Seriously. The first five years of the greyhound group, I probably spent 30 hours a week volunteering. That’s 1560 hours a year. I pretty much think that the max we get to “claim” at Blackbaud is like…maybe 40 or 80 hours. I did that in a month. LESS than a month.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not bragging. I’m just sayin. Thru my tenure at Blackbaud, I’ve learned what it means to give back. Actually, I’ve learned the beauty of giving back. Regardless of reward, regardless of anything but the pure joy I get from seeing new greyhounds loving their retired life. Would be the same for anyone who volunteers with sencient beings…they return the “love” a hundred fold!
So, as National Philanthropy Day rolls closer, and even Giving Tuesday…we should be thinking about what WE can do to make someone’s life just a bit easier. Put a smile on a face. Food in a belly. Books on a desk. Comfort for a soul hurting. What ever your passion is…go. Do. Don’t just sit around and expect someone else will. I think it’s Matthew West that says, “It’s time for us to Do Something!” Yup. You.