The Twelve Steps of Volunteering

I’ve been volunteering on one form or another for many years now.  I’ve been treasurer of a Hospital Fund Raising Organization, managing its four businesses and $1.5 million dollars of investments; I’ve helped run charity golf tournaments and silent auctions, book fairs, and even conferences like Podcamp Philly.

I started joking with another friend, Mark Blevis, that I needed a twelve step program for volunteers, and he said it’d make a good blog post.  So here’s my riff on the first six steps:

1.  Admit you are powerless when it comes to volunteering.  Somehow, you are always the person saying “Oh Sure, That’s No Problem, I can do it” even when your brain is screaming “What are you, Nuts?”  Your rampant volunteerism has made your life unmanageable.

2. I’ve come to believe in a Power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.  (I thought this was Steve Jobs when I bought my Mac Book Pro, but apparently I need to find a power higher than just iWork ’08 and Twitter). 

3. I need to make a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of the Higher Power, however I understand him/her/it to be. (The interwebs?? Twitter?  Facebook???)

4. I need to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and my ability to manage my own time effectively.  (I am stuck on this step at the moment.  I need to triage the truly important and valuable from the black holes of time and energy.)

5. I have to admit to my higher power and to another human being the exact nature of my wrongs.  (Confessions via twitter??)

6. I have to be ready to have my higher power remove all defects of character.  (Does this mean cutting the lifeline I call High Speed Internet and Gmail access on my cell phone?  Say it isn’t so….)

I’m hoping to eventually progress until I can have a true spiritual awakening and really understand what I can control, what I cannot, and become better at telling the difference between the two.

One of the things I love is eventually giving up control and letting things just happen organically.  It always ends up working out brilliantly in the end.  But being a parent for over 12 years now, I also know that it takes some level of practice, organization and preparedness to make things fly on their own.  The trick is knowing when you’re over-planning.  And when to say no. 

 Here’s hoping I get it together.

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