A friend of mine who worked in a social services nonprofit told me a story about how some volunteer Board members didn’t really understand the cause – where the real work happens on the ground. They were caring people, but they just didn’t have a clear idea of the reality of the services provided. She described how, in her own spare time, she goes to her local animal shelter and walks dogs. Her point about many of her own organization’s Board members was that they didn’t have any real concept of “walking dogs”.

After realizing she was talking about me (!), I’m afraid I was feeling a little inadequate; however, since then, I have come to realize that the good needed in the community is served by individuals who contribute their time and expertise in a wide variety of ways – all of which are clearly needed by the causes they are serving, whether or not they are needed for hands-on service to those in need. So, I suppose I may not be as inadequate as I feared, realizing that the cause receives value from what I can contribute by leveraging my relationship network and by helping to find solutions to business issues.

Most of us have some need in our community that touches us. I want to encourage you to get involved wherever you are drawn – every nonprofit cause needs help from leaders like you. However, the gift that occurs when you find a place to serve is not received only by the cause – you will likely never do anything that is more of a gift to yourself.

Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your feedback. Please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.