It has been said that each person has a “love language” in relationships. Basically, it’s the way we express ourselves for those who are most important to us, as defined by Gary Chapman’s 1992 book, The Five Love Languages. Similarly, volunteer preferences and styles can also be categorized in buckets that highlight a preferred way of expression.
In this volunteer space our daily words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and our physical presence are all unique ways that volunteers make an impact.
- Words of Affirmation: These volunteers may share uplifting stories in a presentation seen by hundreds or give speeches that encourages people to rethink who they are and how they do things. They might write blogs, books, or weekly texts of motivation to elevate mentees in their circle. Some love to share inspirational quotes or turn an everyday situation into an inspirational message that gets others involved. This group likes to host training sessions and participate in panel discussions.
- Quality Time & Acts of Service: This group spends their time supporting others as a mentor. They may reach out to a career changer, 'first timer,' or introverted friend at events. Many in this bucket also built a '9-to-5' career around acts of service. They join organizations like NACE to support, educate, or launch an early talent pipeline. This group can typically be seen partnering with other nonprofits, or even working for them, and they advocate on the front lines around legislation, equal access, and causes that support representation.
- Gifts: These volunteers contribute at a scale that not everyone can. They donate resources and funds to the causes they believe in, which helps many initiatives move forward. There are also those with limited income that set aside weekly tithes and salary to serve causes that they feel strongly about. Gifts can be any size, and all monetary donations help get events filled and memberships, conferences, and scholarships subsidized.
- Physical Presence: Your brand and your presence are your collateral. Just as words have the power to inspire, so does the physical act of showing up for something you believe in or for someone that might look up to you. Being in the room matters to interns, direct reports, and mentees. In an increasingly virtual world, a handshake or a hug can connect a community. Volunteers build community by showing up and bringing their stage presence, brand, and charisma to get attendees in seats.
Everyone has different ways of expressing themselves as a volunteer. In April, we recognize those who give their time, energy, and pieces of themselves during National Volunteer Month. No matter what your volunteering language may be, we truly appreciate your support!