For many people CSI is just an acronym on a spreadsheet. It is something that coporate companies work into their budgets.
Over the years I have done a lot of work into this space and I have learned that the most meaningful work is being done by volunteers. Individuals who decide one day to do more with what they have, for the benefit of the majority.
Indiviuals who shift from a posture of “me” to a posture of “we”.
While corporate sponsors might put large chunks of money into projects that are seasonal, it is individual volunteers who show up day after day to wash and feed needy kids and take care of their mundane needs.
“Melanie, you are so lucky to have done this kind of work.”
I certainly am. It gives me a deep sense of contentment when I know I have added value in a meaningful way, in a place where it really counts.
We have one life. The activities we show up for become the story of that life.
I was with a business incubator for some time where my coaches and mentors would beg me to get off the “bleeding edge” of the non-profit sector. They urged me to wait until the business was more profitable before I invested time and energy there.
If I had waited as they suggested, I would still be waiting and I would be living with the regret of not having given it a shot when I wanted to. They say it is the experiences and love that hold value at the end of a human life, not the money made or lost.
If you have felt a voice inside saying “I would like to do more to help others.” think about acting on that voice. Find a charity to support and show up to support it.
Find a non-profit nearby to support. Proximity will make it easier to commit and show up.
Find one that is aligned with your framework of beliefs. If you believe in it, it is easier to commit and show up.
Commit time and energy to showing up. Many people say…
“I wish I could do more, only I do not have time.”
The truth is, none of us have the time. In today’s busy world the only way to find time to volunteer is to make time for it in the same way you make time for family, sport, socializing or crafting.
I have learned with time that the non-profit sector is bottomless and has the ability to completely suck you in beyond sanity. The need way exceeds the resources or labor available to do the job. This means that personal boundaries are vitally important in this space.
Decide what you can practically afford to commit to.
When your family are directly impacted in a negative way by your involvement with the non-profit, it is time to step back.
It is easier to manage personal risk if you donate time instead of money.
Some years ago I had the priviledge of attending the memorial service of Charlotte Schaer. During her lifetime she supported thousands of vulnerable refugees and children through the CDP Trust. Her service was one of the most powerfully moving events of my life.
Charlotte was a tiny lady. She was also feisty and made her disagreement known if I did anything that was not within her framework of viewing the world. She would take it upon herself to set me right.
And her memorial service was a sea of humans washing across an impromptu stage. Each one stood up to tell their story of how she had worked to set something right in their lives. Their stories about how she had uplifted their spirits and fortunes from hopelessness in a broken past to hopefulness for a bright future spilled across the stage all day. Their stories of how she had used the visual arts to re-write their internal narrative to one of optimism left me with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.
One day when I die, I will be happy if a handful of people can stand up for me and say…
“She changed my life.”
You hold it in your personal power to change a life today. How are you going to choose to show up?