How to be a more valuable volunteer.

There is a simple truth about value. It is directly related to contribution. To increase your value you have to increase your contribution. Which means if you want to earn more money, have more friends or increase your influence you have to contribute more. If you don’t contribute your time, talent or treasure to others you have no value to them. And there are nothing but zeros on your reality check.

Tackle Football

My son Johann is in 6th grade and began his first year of tackle football this fall. When your children commit to a fun activity like sports, scouting or full-contact charades, the parents commit to the less fun activities that come with it. Like fundraising, Saturdays in the rain, and required volunteer work. #oxymoron

Volunteering

Typically when we look at the list of volunteer opportunities we seek out the easiest one. We try to take the path of least resistance before anyone else beats us to it. But this fall I decided to take a different approach. I sought out Johann’s head coach after a preseason practice and asked him a simple question:

What job is the hardest to find volunteers to do?

Instead of looking for the easiest and most convenient job, I wanted to provide the greatest value to the coach, the program and the other parents. The volunteer coaches are already contributing more to the program than I ever could. The least I could do was make the unrewarding job of asking for volunteers a little easier by taking the least desirable task off the volunteer board.

The game day volunteer opportunities included:

  • Video taping the games  (Although there is no tape involved)
  • Running the scoreboard (Although neither the scoreboard nor the operator do any actual running)
  • Announcer  (You get to tell everyone you have no idea what you are talking about.)
  • Chain Gang#1  (Also known as the Chrissie Hynde role)
  • Chain Gang#2  (Electric Boogaloo)
  • Chain Gang #3 (Which is never as good as the original)
  • Pre-Concession (You do this before you concede)
  • Post- Concession  (You try to sell people posts)

The Answer

I really had no idea which role the coach would say was the most challenging. But I was prepared for the worst. The coach immediately responded, ‘Announcer is always the hardest.’

I immediately volunteered to announce the games. And with that offer I gave him one less thing to worry about. I could see both the relief and the appreciation on his face. And I knew this would not be the last time I used the path-of-most-resistance technique to determine my volunteer activities.

Key Takeaway

Your success in life is directly related to your contribution. So step up and contribute where it is most valued. Take the hard roles to fill, not the easiest or most convenient. Seek more responsibility, not less. Give others less to worry about and more to enjoy. Become someone others can count on. It pays off in rewards too numerous to count.

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