There is an opportunity for everyone to change the world. The question is how. Together, we spend about half of our waking hours working each year, which constitutes more than 250 billion collective hours. However, volunteering accounts for only 8 billion hours. That is the same as if every person in the United States volunteered for an entire day without sleeping. But what if we can combine our working and volunteer hours? Instead of squeezing our impact into nights and weekends, why can we not create social and environmental change through our work?
Volunteers are an “indispensable anchor of every community infrastructure.” Without volunteers a community would not be able to function as it currently does. This is especially true today, as organizations need to provide more services with fewer resources. Volunteers work to meet the needs of their neighbors by collection, preparing, distribution, or serving food (23.5%); contribute much need sweat hours through general labor or providing transpiration (20.3%); help students succeed in school and prepare for the future by tutoring and teaching (18.5%); and mentor youth (17%). Volunteers make a lasting impact.
Not only is volunteering an essential role in the function of the community, but “even when controlling for other factors such as age, health, and gender, research has found that when individuals volunteer, they are more likely to live longer.” However, in order for this to be true a “volunteer threshold” much be achieved. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the volunteer threshold is defined as one to two hours of service per week. Imagine if you could accomplish your volunteer threshold while just completing your job.
Anyone can do it. Anyone can use his or her job to make a positive impact – you don’t have to have a fancy title. If everyone makes a small positive change in his or her work life, it could create one big change. Why not try?