It is my honest belief that we should all have the social goals of social responsibility and helping those less fortunate than ourselves – and trust me, if you have the resources to be able to read this article on-line, then there are lots of people out there who are less fortunate!
Whether this help is financial through appropriate donations or through volunteerism doesn’t really matter, but we should all feel some social responsibility to do something.
What is Volunteerism? Volunteerism is not about giving away something for nothing – it’s about mutual growth through providing assistance and help to other people.
I volunteer in the local fire brigade – not only am I helping to protect communities from loss and suffering associated with bush fires, but I am making valuable friendships and learning some amazing practical skills! I know the people I help are grateful for what we do, but I get just as much (if not more) out of volunteering in this organisation. This is one of my personal social goals.
There are many different organisations looking for volunteers, depending on what interests you – kids, the environment, rescue/ fire fighting, aged care, counselling, hospitals, and many many more.
If you have a lot of time up your sleave and are looking for a real adventure, there are also overseas volunteer programs you can join – everyone who has been involved in one of these programs say that it is a life changing experience.
Making Donations - As one of my personal social goals I choose to volunteer my time to those that need it, but not all people have the time or ability to participate in a volunteer organisation.
Don’t worry, there are lots of volunteer organisations and charities that will gladly accept your donation! Don’t forget that donations are tax deductible in some countries, so check with your taxation department for details.
Everyone can do something. YOU can do something. If you don’t have the time, DONATE. If you can’t afford to donate money, VOLUNTEER and offer your time or services.
Whether you donate your time or money, it is all valuable to those that receive the benefit.
Social goals can also have synergies with other goals you may have for other life aspects.
Volunteering in particular may also enhance:
- Your ‘Personal’ life aspect, by teaching you skills you wouldn’t normally learn. These newfound skills may even help out in your ‘career’ life aspect.
- Your ‘Friendship’ life aspect, by introducing you to people with common interests and motivations. You may even find a new partner – I did!
- Your ‘Recreation’ life aspect, if your volunteer activities become like a ‘hobby’ to you.
- Your ‘Spiritual’ life aspect, by giving you the opportunity to think about what really matters.
Depending on the volunteer activity, you may even improve your level of fitness or health!
Take these synergies into account during your goal-setting journey to kill 2 birds (or 2 goals) with the same stone and get the most out of your experience.
How to set social goals?
The ‘How to Set Goals’ tab on the NavBar goes through the goal setting process in detail – and that process applies to social goals too. Here are some more pointers specific to social goals.
Know your starting point: As with all goal-setting, to set social goals you need to know your starting point. You can define your starting point by asking:
- What do you currently do for your community?
- Are you part of a volunteer organisation or do you volunteer your time to help others? How many hours per week do you volunteer?
- Do you donate money to charity? How much and how often?
- Do you feel that you are contributing to society in some fashion?
- Do you have a good ‘sense of community’
Research volunteer organisations and charities: Like all good goals, you need to ‘research’ the goal before you commit to it and to enable you to prepare suitable Action Plans for achieving it.
So what do you need to know about ‘community’ goals?
First of all, you will need to find out what volunteer organisations and charities are available to you – now there are just too many worthwhile charities and organisations to provide links for, so just sit down with Google and go nuts!
Enter the type of organisation/ charity you’re most interested in (for example, children’s or environmental), followed by the word “volunteer” or “charity” and go from there.
You can also talk to your local Council – they usually have a list of volunteer organisations in your local community.
Also, if you’re looking for a suitable charity to donate to, you need to consider:
- What charities do you believe in the most – all charities are worthwhile, but which ones are YOU passionate about?
- Payment terms – do they have a ‘subscription’ donation system where you’re set up to make regular donations? Do they have a minimum donation acceptable? Do they accept all payment options? Do they provide a written receipt (they should!)? An of course, is this all acceptable to your finances.
- Can you claim donations for this particular charity as a Tax Deduction? What are the particular tax laws in your country?
- What does the charity do with the money – are you concerned that too much of the money is spent on administration fees and staff costs?
- Of the charities you’ve investigated, which one gives the biggest ‘Bang for your buck’?
If you’re looking for a suitable volunteer organisation to join, you need to be a little more thorough with your research as this is an activity that involves your time and interaction with other people. You need to consider the ‘when, what, where and who’:
- What does the organisation do and what will they expect YOU to do? Are your skills or natural abilities suited?
- Is there a structured ‘path’ through the organisation to give you the opportunity to progress and develop?
- Do they provide training and equipment? Do you need to provide any of your own equipment or clothing?
- Membership requirements – age restrictions? Health or fitness level required? Skills required?
- Is there a minimum amount of time you need to commit? When and how often does this organisation meet? Is there shift work involved? Can you work around your other commitments?
- Who will you be working with? Do you like them?
Many volunteer organisations have an interview/ entry process as well, as they will want to know what you can offer them.
This is actually good for you too, as it is as much an opportunity for you to interview THEM as it is for them to interview you.
Make sure you feel comfortable joining the particular organisation so that you can contribute the ‘best bang for your buck’!
Monitoring Social Goals
Being able to measure progress towards a goal is critical for achieving goal setting success. To do this you need to know ‘how’ to measure goal progress and how to set realistic timeframes for your goal.
Measuring community goals is one of the easy ones – you can measure:
- Amount of money donated per year.
- Amount of time volunteered per year.
There are also some more subjective measurements for ‘community’ goal setting. Perhaps you still feel ‘empty’ after volunteering your time or making donations to worthwhile charities. A better measure for you may be a ranking type system based on a feeling of community contribution or ‘sense of community’.
Setting suitable timeframes for community goals is also one of the easy ones.
You’ll need to allow yourself some time initially to research suitable volunteer organisations, taxation requirements for donations, etc – and don’t sell yourself short on this task.
This organisation or charity will be taking up some of your valuable time or hard-earned cash – so make sure it is something you really believe in.
You may even want to ‘test-run’ a number of volunteer organisations if more than one appeals to you – after all, volunteerism is about ‘people’, so make sure you’re going to enjoy working with them first!
Other than that, social goals can be set on the basis of:
- How often you make donations, as well as how much you donate each time.
- How much time per week you spend on volunteer activities, making sure you balance this with your other important life aspects.
Armed with the above information, you should be able to find a worth volunteer organisation or charity that you are prepared to volunteer your time or hard earned cash for.
Do YOU contribute to the community or environment? Tell YOUR social goals and inspire others to contribute…