“If I had one extra minute in the day, I’d use it to sleep. From organizing the kid’s activities, attending PTA and military family meetings, going to school, and working, I don’t have time to volunteer!”
But you do.
This year we heard from hundreds of military spouses, just like you, about their barriers to volunteering. I get it; sometimes it really doesn’t fit into your day. But I can help you find a way to fit it into your life.
Let’s start with the barriers:
Barrier: I don’t have child care
Solution: Why do you think you have to volunteer without your child? As one military spouse said, “I never had sitters, the kids went with me. If they couldn’t, I volunteered while they were at school. Or, I did things at home, like Key calling, making a meal for someone who is ill, baking for a bake sale. If you want to volunteer, you’ll find a way.”
Barrier: I’ve had a bad experience with…
Solution: Whether you have a bad taste in your mouth from your local FRG, or other on-base volunteering opportunity, we encourage you to give it another shot…and think outside the post. “The military community has expanded into the local communities,” one spouse mentioned. “We still volunteer countless hours, just not on base.” So, if the FRG is not the experience you hoped for, think of other ways to give your time to others.
Barrier: Volunteer burnout
Solution: Take time to figure out why you’re feeling this way. One spouse said, “I thought I was burnt out from volunteering, but what I was really burnt out on was the deployment.” Sometimes finding a different way to volunteer helps; other times walking away for a bit to rejuvenate is the best answer. The best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself.
Barrier: I work full-time and all the volunteer opportunities are during the day
Solution: “I can’t volunteer because I can’t do it in the time slots they need or for as long as they want,” another military spouse told us. Many people have long declared this a problem for them, and frankly, shame on us in the military community if we can’t figure out how to expand opportunities beyond the work day! Or what about weekends? Check with the place you’re volunteering to see about the idea of expanding hours, or simply find a more accommodating place to give back.
What do our Volunteers think of volunteering with NMFA?
“I believe NMFA has been very supportive in taking care of its volunteers and their needs!” said one Volunteer. “I certainly appreciate all that NMFA does in support of my own family, as well as all the military families; and that’s the reason why I continue to volunteer through them–I am able to give something back in return.”
How can I help you tear down your barriers to volunteering?
Posted by Christina L. Jumper, Volunteer & Community Outreach Director