We are all a little lazy, a lot impulsive and generally want the world to be a better place!
Updated: Apr 2, 2018
Humans are, by nature, impulsive creatures who usually don't want to work too hard.
A few years ago, when I worked for Volunteer Edmonton, I got calls all the time from people who were looking to volunteer but didn't know how to get started. I'd give them advice and tips and they'd usually sound a little more deflated than motivated once they found out I couldn't simply send them to a place to start volunteering. (We never even talked about the processes involved in getting started as a volunteer!) They just wanted to help. They made the call, then expected to get started right away. Of course, it is not practical to have a traditional volunteer centre for a city with a metro population of about a million! (Old school Volunteer Centres, which are basically organizations where you can talk with a staff member and they will match you with an opportunity, may still exist in smaller communities.)
Basically, many of us want to volunteer, but don't want to do the work of seeking out opportunities - especially if we have no clue about what we really want to do, or what cause we want to support.
As well, we are an impulsive lot. I am personally very guilty of this! I hear of an opportunity and think "I want to help! I can do that! I want to volunteer there!" I make a mental note to look into the possibility more, then that may be as far as it goes. Or, I may get to the application stage, then think about my availability and whether or not I can truly commit to that role. And sometimes, quite frankly, I simply change my mind.
Having managed volunteers in non-profit organizations for over 15 years, I saw proof of this all the time. I'd get calls or email inquiries from potential volunteers. I'd respond then sometimes never hear from them again. Or sometimes they'd set up an interview and not show up, or come for the interview, then disappear after that (even though they left the interview seemingly happy to get started). Over time, I simply accepted this would sometimes happen. Just as an airline will oversell their flights assuming people will miss the flight, they'd rather take the risk of overbooking than flying the plane empty. It's just a fact of life. People are impulsive and change their minds for a whole bunch of reasons.
Overall, though I believe that most of us want to help others, make a difference, and genuinely care about our community. That's what prompts the call or inquiry in the first place. While it's one thing to be shy of a little investigating and research, it's another to be discouraged from getting involved because of a lack of understanding and a lack of information about how to navigate the world of volunteerism.
That's why I developed goose troop. I wanted a place for potential volunteers to come to get (mostly) all the answers to questions they may have about getting started, how to find the right opportunity, what to expect when volunteering, and where to look for that awesome volunteer opportunity. I want profs and high school teachers to direct their students (who are sometimes forced to volunteer for a class or program) to this website. It is my hope that young people whose parents say "you should go volunteer" will find useful information on these pages. Companies who adopt a "day of caring" or employee volunteer program will find helpful tips and explanations at goose troop. Non-profit organizations can visit and re-think their program from the perspective of their volunteers. goose troop is for anyone who volunteers, or wants to, and is intended to be a place to share my passion for volunteerism. goose troop is, for me, a labour of love!
I encourage you to contact me with any questions you may have about volunteering or any suggestions you have for content on these pages.
Volunteering is a great way to spend your time! Imagine what we could accomplish if we all volunteer?