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Old 02-12-2020, 09:57 AM   #81
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Clearly there are two ways to go about it. You can look to a nonprofit or volunteer organization to guide your volunteering, or you can self-direct your volunteering, coming up with ideas and implementing then. The latter can be done on an individual scale, or you can involve a group of friends. You can become quite entrepreneurial about volunteering if so inclined.

We had a great experience with a local ďtrail tamersĒ organization that simply did work on improving various hiking trails for a few hours each weekend, and were often invited to more distant locations to work in exchange for cabins, meals, etc. You just showed up at the Saturday morning location. They taught newbies how to use the tools. It was a fun group of folks. No long term commitments. We joined a couple of the group weekend trips, and they were quite special and very unique.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:39 AM   #82
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But here's one that kinda rubs me......wealth(ier) teens soliciting money from the public or their parents/relatives to go to Africa (or somesuch) to 'help' by digging wells (for example).......if you want to help impoverished villagers, send them the money...they know how to dig!
Read the book "Toxic Charity". It goes into great detail about how the temporary do-gooder projects don't really have any lasting good effects and may take jobs away from locals. Many of the residents of "orphanages" set up in Asia have living parents but it's more lucrative to warehouse them and accept large donations from people in developed countries who come in, cuddle the kids, listen to them sing a few cute songs and go home.

Another thought on volunteering: I won't do anything that requires me to ask people for money. It just doesn't fit my temperament and my skills.
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Old 02-12-2020, 01:28 PM   #83
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I am good at fundraising. If it is a cause I believe in I don't mind asking folks for money, especially people I know. I am involved with a charity that had a fund raising need. I thought of a way to raise the money and so I do that fund raising project every year. I do it by myself--I don't want a committee messing things up. Needless to say I am a very popular volunteer with that charity.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:30 PM   #84
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In June, my gig as a CASA was over, and I took a long break. It was taxing & not for the faint of heart (and I only had one case).

Now I'm volunteering on a random basis for some candidates in local elections.

Volunteering is fulfilling, but I plan to only work as much as I truly want to. I am a care giver, and can't commit to things happening too far in the future. Nor do I plan to once my load has lightened up at home (it's starting to now).

There is something for everyone- it just takes time to find the right fit.
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Old 02-12-2020, 05:49 PM   #85
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Another element of the volunteer work I do is that it is rather specialized - it requires special skills and knowledge that most people don't have. This means I will be treated well and with respect, if not looked up to also. It's a nice ego trip and I won't be abused or taken advantage of.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:21 PM   #86
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Volunteering does not seem like work; it is work.

I don't volunteer my time. I donate money.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:14 PM   #87
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Me too, send 'em a check. I got lots of stuff I need to do around here before I go out and work on someone else's house.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:29 PM   #88
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Read the book "Toxic Charity". It goes into great detail about how the temporary do-gooder projects don't really have any lasting good effects and may take jobs away from locals.
I have heard this too, especially the last part (taking jobs away from locals). I think teens that go down there may get some appreciation for what they have here, so it's not a total loss, but I don't support them either. I do try to figure out where cash would be used best and donate accordingly.
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:52 PM   #89
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Another element of the volunteer work I do is that it is rather specialized - it requires special skills and knowledge that most people don't have. This means I will be treated well and with respect, if not looked up to also. It's a nice ego trip and I won't be abused or taken advantage of.


I have a similar experience with my volunteer gig. My non-profit of choice gets lots of volunteers for work that requires little training. However they have a small accounting team that needs help with projects that require more than data entry skills. I am that person for them and as a result I am treated very well. I enjoyed my career in accounting, so this is fun for me. It gives me an opportunity to continue to dabble in the numbers without any of the corporate bs.

To the OP-if you want to be treated as an independent contractor (which is basically what you described in your first post), youíll need to identify a skill you can bring to the non-profit that they canít get from other volunteers, and of course be something you enjoy. If you can do that, you can write your own ticket.

Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2020, 11:34 PM   #90
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I have a similar experience with my volunteer gig. My non-profit of choice gets lots of volunteers for work that requires little training. However they have a small accounting team that needs help with projects that require more than data entry skills. I am that person for them and as a result I am treated very well. I enjoyed my career in accounting, so this is fun for me. It gives me an opportunity to continue to dabble in the numbers without any of the corporate bs.
I enjoy using the skills I acquired at my job in my volunteer work. Some of my volunteer work includes running small school Scrabble tourneys (see my username?). I created a handy worksheet using my job skills to greatly aid me in running the tourneys. By work standards, it's a decent but not a super-duper spreadsheet. But to the teacher-coaches (who have some Excel skills), I look like a genius! I can also put my office supervisory skills to work (IOW being able to boss around a room full of adults and kids).

Another area I use my work skills for volunteer work is to help my co-op board at our annual meeting by running their Board elections and determining a quorum. To the Board members, I turned a slow, often chaotic process into a quick, smooth running process.

Doing this every year brings me a lot of goodwill with both the Board and our managing agent staff who help me at the annual meeting. I have their ears if I have problem or question about co-op issues. They have mentioned to me that I could gain an appointed seat on the Board when there is a vacancy in the middle of the year (due to a tragic death or rare resignation). But I don't really want the headaches associated with being on the Board. And being more of an introvert, I wouldn't welcome the attention year-round. Simply having their ear when I have a problem or a question, and getting a small ego trip at the annual meeting is good enough for me.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:03 AM   #91
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I have heard this too, especially the last part (taking jobs away from locals). I think teens that go down there may get some appreciation for what they have here, so it's not a total loss, but I don't support them either. I do try to figure out where cash would be used best and donate accordingly.
There are plenty of places in the USA to give teens appreciation for what they have.

On one of my disaster relief jobs, I briefly worked with another group from up in the NE. They brought a youth group.

This was the first time any of these kids saw a roach.

And actually, the home was in good shape, owned by a very friendly, kind man. He just couldn't bend over anymore, so cleaning the floor became and issue and the crumbs attracted the problem. And it was not even a severe problem. Still...

You'd think all these kids saw a ghost or something. They were simply in shock.

So, yeah, plenty of opportunities close by to find that "appreciation for the cushy iPhone life" they have.
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Old 02-14-2020, 04:39 PM   #92
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The Unindicted Co-Conspirator and I were just talking about this. Our local UU church recently sent us an online questionnaire asking how they can help us, but every question was about what talents, time, and treasure WE could contribute to THEM. We tried to make it very clear that we make an annual pledge and we are faithful and dedicated choristers, and thatís it. (Pretty good for a couple of atheists, really.)

Frankly, one of the best things about retirement is La Dolce Fa Niente, the sweetness of idleness. We have plenty to do, weíve never been bored for a single minute.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:03 PM   #93
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Read the book "Toxic Charity". It goes into great detail about how the temporary do-gooder projects don't really have any lasting good effects and may take jobs away from locals. Many of the residents of "orphanages" set up in Asia have living parents but it's more lucrative to warehouse them and accept large donations from people in developed countries who come in, cuddle the kids, listen to them sing a few cute songs and go home.

Another thought on volunteering: I won't do anything that requires me to ask people for money. It just doesn't fit my temperament and my skills.
I have not read the book but I have been an unpaid volunteer at a local "tool library" where residents check out tools for free. The tools are power tools, ladders, lawnmowers, etc. Residents donate tools for the community so it is a win-win.

This service does not generate income except for fines when borrowers are late. I find this volunteering work satisfying because I fix broken tools since I am a handy man and I teach widows who lost their husbands how to use certain power tools.

As far as taking jobs from the locals, I do not believe that is a factor in my situation since there is no money to pay someone to take my place. I am also ex-military and "serving your community and like serving your country". It really depends on your background on whether unpaid volunteer work is a positive thing or a negative one.
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Great topic
Old 02-14-2020, 05:05 PM   #94
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Great topic

I decided some time ago that I would avoid the Charity-Industrial and Volunteer-Industrial Complexes entirely. I had a great deal of exposure to things mentioned in this thread like small mindedness, rigidity, waste, et al in my formative professional and business years.

In retirement, I'm keeping it focused. I'm giving my time and resources to individuals who need help. Most of these people are "leaders" can do much more with some support and are in a position to take what I give them and leverage it by 100x or 1000x to make very big tangible impact.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:28 PM   #95
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Because I had a highly visible job running a large company and had volunteered for many years while working, my volunteer positions were chairing the boards that ran the nonprofits. It's important, and it changes lives, so I do it. But it isn't nearly as much fun as my paid consulting. Charity work just is kind of meh, but it's worth doing anyway.
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:56 PM   #96
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This is an interesting dilemma. I pulled the trigger on early retirement about a month ago. I donít feel the need or drive to volunteer at this point but my wife is pushing so Iím going to make an effort. Frankly Iíve been soured on volunteering from several attempts and experiences through the activities and sports teams my kids were involved in. It was most typical to experience the worst in people via the non-paid volunteer leaders. Rude, controlling, political, dishonest, and so on. Really stressed me out in these situations as the kids got the short end. Iím talking all the kids. Not just mine. I appreciate some of the examples shared on this thread. They give me hope that Iíll find something that fits me and actually provides benefit.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:52 PM   #97
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I started volunteering when I was 17. Tried to join the vol FD but I was too young, so I joined the vol ambulance corps. It gave me structure and direction. I became a career paramedic, and moved up the ranks.
I still volunteer today, in my townís fire department. I no longer am an interior Firefighter, but I do my part and like helping my neighbors.

I need to have a purpose in life....
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:16 PM   #98
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Rick55- thank you for your service. Trained firefighters are special people and important to our communities. Paid and volunteer.
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:56 PM   #99
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I have not read the book but I have been an unpaid volunteer at a local "tool library" where residents check out tools for free. The tools are power tools, ladders, lawnmowers, etc. Residents donate tools for the community so it is a win-win.
That's a pretty interesting idea. I had never heard of a program like that. I'd sign up to help out if we had something like that around here, too.

I don't let the politics of a structured charitable organization bother me. Believe me, I've seen the very worst of people, both above and below me in the chain of command, in different organizations.

Knowing you don't need the job, and can quit any time, helps. Often the mission is more important than the petty bickering some people are always trying to rope others into. So I just keep doing what I think is right.
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Old 02-15-2020, 06:21 AM   #100
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There has been a lot of people writing about using the skills learned during their career when they volunteer. I like to think about the skills Iíve learned in my volunteer experiences. I joke that if the wheels fall off our retirement bus, Iíve got a few job skills that I didnít have before.

From volunteering with the fire department, Iíve learned to work in a large kitchen and feed about 200 people. I can run an industrial dishwasher. I am trained by the state to recognize intoxication / prevent DUI and have a certification card to prove it. (Donít laugh, our insurance carrier required that class for bartenders). Iím still learning how to decipher dispatchers over a garbled radio transmission. I can direct traffic.

Not exactly critical life skills, but these activities put some variety in life.
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