NJDC Chairman Michael M. Adler had an op-ed published today in the Miami Herald. Click here to read it.
There is another great side effect to volunteering. Nonprofits are often the model of democracy. There is no better way to learn how to build consensus and find solutions than to sit at a table with other dedicated volunteers committed to the same goals. These skills help in all of life's other challenges. Volunteer once and see the results, and I predict you will volunteer again. The first step is the hardest. Unfortunately, whatever the reason, fewer and fewer people are taking that first step on their own.
The result is that nonprofits find it harder to compete for financial and human resources, key leadership and committee positions go unfilled and the future of the vital services many nonprofits provide becomes more and more uncertain.
To reenergize volunteerism in our communities, we need to institute some tough love. Instead of treating community service as an afterthought -- something we may do in our spare time if we have the time at all -- we need to consider it an absolute necessity like exercise or career success.