** Everyone should volunteer their time, and donate money to their church or non-profit/charity.  If you don’t, reevaluate your values.  If you’re reading this, odds are you have more than you need.   **

The most precious commodity we have is our time.  Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.  You can not buy more of it nor is there a massive trove of undiscovered time in the sands of Canada or under the Gulf of Mexico.  It is imperative for us to use all the time we have in a wise manner.  Sometimes that’s work, sometimes that’s time with family and other times that’s watching TV (we all need a little down time.. just not 45 hours a week seeing who got kicked off the island).

An area of my time that I put to good work is volunteering.  I spend hours a week at church or at my kids school.  By using skills that I’ve learned, I can share knowledge and my passions with other people.  On top of using knowledge I already know, this is an awesome time to learn something new.  Extend your personal boundaries and get our of your comfort zone.

Think about your volunteer time strategically.  Choose a leadership position on a committee that may or may not be in your field.  I ran the ‘HR’ department of my church for 2 years.  I’m not a HR person by any stretch, but I do care about other people, the church and making sure the staff was treated respectfully, fairly and by the book.  This type of an opportunity will hugely benefit ME going forward too.  It also benefitted the church by having a dedicated and concerned volunteer in a position that isn’t anyone’s favorite role.  It has to be done, but it’s not easy.

This year, it’s about being on the finance committee.  What the heck do I know about institutional finances?  Nothing!  BUT, I do know a lot about personal finances, and I have some very strong and clear beliefs on how to responsibly use money.  This allows me to step outside of my comfort zone, but again, learn something that can help me when I need to worry about finances of a company I start or a run a division of which I have financial responsibility for.

Now, if you’re reading this and thinking “He’s just humble-bragging”, you’re doing it wrong.  You’re missing the point.  Do good work for other folks, if you can, learn something while you’re doing it.  Don’t just put in the time. Anyone can just put in time and mark the checkbox.  “Yep, volunteered this week”.

Cross posted at:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/volunteer-personal-gain-chris-fauerbach