Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless – but because they are priceless.
I would like to share with you a story which has left a lasting impression upon me to this day.
A son had been helping his mum by doing various odd jobs around the house. These jobs had accumulated over the period of a month, and even though payment for work had never been discussed, the son thought he would send his mum an invoice. The mum, on receiving the invoice, was both surprised and saddened. She wrote her son a letter in the form of an invoice which went something like this:
For the hours I sat by your bedside when you were ill - no charge
For the countless football matches I attended - no charge
For always being a good listener - no charge
For doing your laundry when you were at Uni - no charge
For always being here for you - no charge
For loving you - no charge
The letter was very lengthy and at the end she simply signed 'because I love you – Mum.' The son, on receiving the letter, was filled with remorse, however he could not face his mother - instead he returned the invoice with the words “Paid In Full” and signed 'because I love you – your thoughtless son.'
As a volunteer today I am often reminded by this story. Volunteers are the lifeblood of many organisations, and people volunteer for different reasons, however the single act of giving of yourself, regardless of how small it might seem, sends out lasting ripples in so many meaningful ways.
As a counsellor I am in a privileged position to share and apply my knowledge to help others get their lives back on track. As a volunteer that same knowledge is given as a gift and for me the return is priceless.
The need for volunteers today is greater than it has ever been, however the return will always be the same – try it and see what I mean.