It’s amazing how many things happen in this world just because someone volunteers to do them.
There’s an increasing move to try and quantify the benefits of volunteering. It’s as if the re can’t be a recognised value to what we do without a price on it. I can see the point of this in the sense that it gives us some idea of the value of things people choose to do unpaid – and particularly if that spares expenditure to the public purse, but also as a way of recognising that there is another kind of economy which is not for profit.
There is one tendency to move this towards ‘Social Enterprise’, to explain it as a different form of work as available as the mainstream economy of paid work. The risk is that in doing that we losde the different quality of work done out of volition, not just kindness, but from a belief in what is essentially good in life.
I probably spend half my working life doing activities pro bono. Partrly it’s about wishing to ‘give something back’ when so many people have given me so much in my life. It’s also about a passionate belief in Right Livelihood. Ways of being which we can all practice to make the world a better place.
One of my volunteer roles is that I am currently Chair of Permaculture Scotland and would welcome hearing from anyone who wants to volunteer for that cause. No fame or glory- just the satisfaction of knowing you have helped moved forward a good cause.