Time Spent Volunteering is Time Well Spent

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Leo Rosten was an American humorist, writer, and specialist in Yiddish lexicography. I have no idea what “Yiddish lexicography” means, but he had a perspective on life that endears me. He viewed the purpose of life “to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all."

We are busy people. Time is a valuable resource, particularly for young professionals still figuring out all the opportunities in life. But there is a difference between being busy and being active with purpose.

Something happens when we recognize our time as a resource. When we strive to make the most of our lives, time is a resource that can be used for good. This is why I volunteer.

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Why You Should Be a Selfish Volunteer

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I’m a selfish volunteer.  When I think about bartering my most valuable commodities of time and skills, I don’t start from a place of generosity.  In fact, my first question is usually
what’s in it for me (WIFFM)?

Now this doesn’t mean that I’m not passionate about service or care about leaving the world a little better off than it was when I landed here.  But the reality is that after an overflowing week in a giving profession when I sometimes feel like I’m surrounded by no one but takers, extending more of myself like a little bit too much to ask.  Before I even ask the WIIFM question, I think about my carefully color-coded Outlook calendar where I’ve blocked and frequently re-arrange holds to remind myself to eat lunch. I think about my grad school deadlines and the homework I should be doing or reality show that holds the promise of relaxation in my future.  I haven’t regretted saying yes to volunteering, but there are a few no’s that got away.

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t benefited tremendously from my extracurricular activities as a habitual volunteer.  So here’s my “what I’ve gotten from volunteering list” in case you’re on the fence about applying to join a YNPN committee this year:  

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2018 Reading List

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The dog days of summer are here, and whether your summer plans include travel, days in the water, or just more time in the Air Conditioning (no judgement), it is a great chance to take some time and invest in yourself and your mind by picking up a book! Below, I’ve compiled a Summer Reading List of books focused on personal and professional development which I hope will be relevant to our YNPN members and friends! These books came out of a combination of online research, recommendations from fellow nonprofit professionals, and existing lists (shown below) These books are separated according by personal and professional development, and then by the broader non-profit industry and the sub-sectors, such as marketing, fundraising, etc. 
Take a look, and let us know in the comments if you plan to read any of them!

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