Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Charity work or fun?

During a conversation at work the other day, I was asked why I didn’t do any voluntary work. We talked a little about the fundraising I have done for Cancer Research and the further fundraising I have planned for this year, but then it came up again, the idea that this wasn’t actual voluntary work.

I answered that I thought that it was important to take the skills that you have and to use these for charities and third sector organisations (Civil Society in Cameron-speak).  If what you have is time, and that is what you want to give then go ahead. If you want to develop your skills by stretching yourself in new ways, again, go ahead.

My own journey into this was a desire to do something challenging for myself. I had thought about taking a long trip through Europe by bike, maybe to visit friends en-route. When I came across Warren’s idea to cycle, busk and raise money for Cancer Research a little light came on in my head. Why not combine what I wanted with helping others to achieve their goals.

My own approach to this is that I may well go ahead and do these things anyway, but I will get more out of the experience and provide money for valuable work if I do it as a charity event.

After the buskers on bikes event last year I really wanted to find something else to do. When the bike to bestival idea was floated I really wanted to make sure that part of the ethos was to raise money for charity. An equally important part of the event would be tied to the extending the bestival experience for those attending. 

I now find myself part of the team organising a fairly large (for me) cycling event, an element of which should bring in thousands of pounds to charity. This doesn’t make me a saint, but it doesn’t make lazy or uncommitted to the third sector either. 

Whatever life throws at you and whatever opportunities life offers take them and do right by yourself and by others. Everyone wins.

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