Friday, April 17, 2009

A Day to Give Back. A Day to Make a Difference.

Do you know how much your time is worth?

In a recent release by the Independent Sector, an hour of a volunteer's time is worth $20.25.

But imagine that you are the director of a non-profit serving kids after-school, and you look around the facility knowing that there is a ton of maintenance work that needs to be done in order to make it a welcoming environment for kids. In these economic times, there is no way that the non-profit can afford the labor to do those odd jobs. How much is a volunteer's time worth then?

Put simply, it's priceless.

On April 16, during our Day of Caring, more than 800 volunteers came together to help 50 agencies carry out maintenance projects, demo work, remodeling, and various other activities. Projects that the non-profits could not afford to do without the help of these volunteers coming together on this day helping make people's lives better.

What I really started to realize, especially towards the end of the day as I was wrapping up an interview with KNWA/Fox 24, was how important this day really is to the community. In a time where all non-profits are struggling to raise money, and competition for grants is increasing while grant dollars are decreasing, volunteerism becomes more and more important. When times are tough, projects that need to get done are put on hold because utilizing financial resources to help those in need is even more important.

It's important to realize that if you don't have money to give this year, your gift of time is just as valuable a resource. We hope to raise the profile of the importance of volunteerism, especially in a time where it's difficult to raise funds. It's important not to wait another year before we see this level of volunteer activity in the community. There is always something that can be done in the community. Our volunteer website is full of ongoing opportunities that are important and worthwhile.

If in one day more than 800 people can collectively give more than 3,700 hours of time and contribute the equivalent of $76,000 in community resources, can't we in Northwest Arkansas make a commitment to get engaged more often?

We know it's worth it when we see a non-profit director, who has dedicated her life to serving those in need, have tears in her eyes because work that she thought would never happen, happened because of you.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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