8 Steps to Volunteering Within Healthy Limits

Photo Credit - Daniel Thornton

Photo Credit – Daniel Thornton

As small business owners we have been entrusted with the responsibility to manage all kinds of resources… finances, employees, skills & abilities, equipment, inventory, facilities, and time.  All of us care about our communities and want to give back and make a positive impact.  There are a lot of ways that we can give back, but one of the most impactful is with giving of our time.  When we give of our time, we give ourselves.  We are present making a real relational impact on our community.  The result for us and those that we are helping is significantly different, than when we make a donation to a charity fund-raiser.
So why is it that we don’t give more of our time?  I think it starts with the fact that as business owners we are busy.  There are already lots of demands on our time.  We may already feel overwhelmed.  But sometimes, we have the ability to help and we still don’t help.  Why is that? I know what the answer has often been for me…. I am afraid that if I start volunteering with an organization it will get out of hand and I will end up overdoing it.  I know that the results of this will not be healthy for me, my family, or the business that I am responsible for.
It doesn’t have to be that way.  It is possible to give of our time and volunteer and still maintain a healthy life, family and business.  The real question is, “How to we do that?”  We can take responsibility for our actions, volunteer, and have a lasting positive impact.

Here are 8 Steps to Volunteering Within Healthy Limits

  • Pick Volunteer opportunities that line up with your personal mission, vision and passions.  If you are involved in something that you are excited about you will gain energy from your involvement instead of burning out.
  • Decide in advance how much time you can volunteer.  Sometimes the pressures of the moment can push you too far.  Set limits in advance.
  • Communicate your availability clearly to the organization.  Make sure those you are helping know how much time you have available.  That way there is not a conflict over expectations.
  • Be 100% Engaged when you are helping. It is easy for us to be distracted by phone calls, emails, etc.  Your impact will be greater if you are fully present.
  • Remember, it is not your responsibility to run the organization.  As leaders it is easy to take on responsibility that is not ours to carry.  Let others lead and serve them.
  • If you decide you want to give more time, remove something else from your schedule to make space.  You may get involved with something and want to give more time.  That is great.  But, you have to say “No” to something to make that happen.
  • Involve family and friends and make this a relationship time with them.  Volunteering can be a great way to build relationships.  This is an opportunity connect and spend quality time with your family and friends rather than away from them.
  • Use your leadership to motivate others to get involved.  Most volunteer organizations have lots of need.  When we see that need we are tempted to go beyond healthy boundaries with our time.  One way to help that is to use our influence to recruit others to help.  If you can get 5 people to give 4 hours you have made a much more significant impact than if you had given 8 hours of your own time.

The number one thing to remember is that volunteering is great way to practically show love and impact your community.  Don’t let the fear of getting overwhelmed, keep you from getting in the game.  Get out there.  You are needed.  There are opportunities to make a difference that fit you perfectly.

How do you balance Volunteering with your other responsibilities?

Share your thoughts in the comments


  • Brian