There is a simple reason why I share the service work I do: to inspire others to get involved in giving back — plain and simple. It’s no secret that one of the best ways to get others to do something is to lead by example. So, since my hope is that everyone will find a way to get involved in service, I share all that I can on the topic. And, I am thrilled to report that since Good Citizen launched earlier this year, I’ve had countless people tell me that this platform has inspired them to get involved in service.
Now, there are those who believe service, whether giving time or money, shouldn’t be talked about. They feel it’s best to serve quietly or even anonymously. I have heard many reasons for this line of thinking, including religious teachings, and it is certainly a personal decision. But I don’t subscribe to that way of thinking, as I think it shortchanges all involved.
For example, let’s say you give two hours of your time to a soup kitchen every week but never tell anyone. You likely find it incredibly rewarding, and thanks to you the organization can function so those being served are blessed with another meal. But that’s where it ends. However, if you start telling your friends and family about the work you do and the organization you’re supporting, you might just be the spark that gets them involved. That in turn can lead to the organization having more volunteers and/or donors, which allows it to do more great work and serve more people in the community. That’s a win all around, made possible because you shared your story.
Of course, I am not encouraging anyone to start bragging about the service they do. This isn’t about saying, “Hey, look at me! Aren’t I great because I help other people?” What I’m talking about is sharing the good you do with others in an honest and humble way. Tell them about what you do, how it helps address an issue and what you get out of it. Share with them some information about the organization and consider inviting them along the next time you volunteer. Do this in the spirit of giving back and you will likely be a catalyst for change.
I have never met a person who doesn’t want to give back in some way. But I do hear from people who aren’t currently involved in service that they don’t know what to do or how to get started. While we strive to offer solutions here at Good Citizen, one of the easiest ways to assist others in their quest to help is to share our personal stories of service. We should all be proud of the service work we do and must give ourselves permission to talk about it. I look forward to the day when I hear people regularly asking others, “How do you serve?” or perhaps, “How are you a Good Citizen?”
I hope you will start spreading the news of your service today and that you’ll get creative about it. Bring it up at parties and over dinner. Call your family and friends. Use social media, start a blog, post videos – whatever suits you. Tell anyone and everyone you can.
I also invite you to share your service stories with Good Citizen. Click on the “Share Your Story” button (or click here) to tell us what you do and how it impacts your life. And, if you have tips for others on how to share their stories of service, let us know.
I know that the spirit of service is contagious, so let’s start an epidemic!