Are YOU too Busy to Volunteer?
Many of us who attended high school in smaller communities grew up with a strange phenomenon surrounding extra-curricular activities. It seemed that the students who were the most active were involved in everything. Athletes were musicians, student council members took the lead roles in school plays and just about everyone was on the yearbook staff, worked hard during homecoming week and still found time to go to choir practice. If you went to a smaller school, as so many South Dakotans did, you saw it: people who get involved, get involved in everything.
Things haven’t really changed much in communities today. Quite often, the people who volunteer to serve on the economic development committees are people with very full plates. They have families, jobs, hobbies, church meetings, jump at the chance to help out at the local school, make sure their kids get to Little League and piano lessons and try to find a little time once in a while to go fishing or take a craft class. They enjoy being active.
If you’re not currently volunteering to make our community a better place to live, give it some serious thought. There are a limited number of individuals in our hometown, and all of them have busy lives. Most homes have two working parents. Add a couple of children to the mix and you’ve got a full schedule for most days, regardless of the season. And yet, despite the realities of modern life, your neighbors are volunteering—for the local chamber of commerce or commercial clubs, for township boards and county offices, for school fundraisers, and for the local industrial park committee. And they like it, in part because they’re making new friends, but also because they’re doing something to improve our community.
What does volunteerism have to do with economic development? It’s simple. If you’re donating your time and talents to making our hometown a better place, then you’re investing in the future of your community, and economic development is one of the ways we plan for that future. Volunteer for a committee or a civic project and you’re right in the middle of economic development because you’re working for a better tomorrow. Get involved: it’s your community, and your future!
Volunteer and Nonprofit Organization Resources
What information and funding resources are available for volunteer and nonprofit organizations?
Successful volunteer programs/organizations are essential to small communities, especially those with limited resources. Committed volunteers are one of their most valuable assets and a satisfied volunteer becomes a potential recruiter. Resources on how to start a volunteer and/or nonprofit organization, then recruit and manage volunteers are key in establishing and maintaining a successful program that provides a meaningful experience for both the volunteer and the organization. This site collects resource links to more information and vital organizations that can help.