Volunteering: What Feels Like Helping and What Is Helping

I have been thinking a lot about the fact that I do not volunteer anymore.  I did in high school and college, but not now.  Part of that was because I was in a very stressful job with slightly odd hours.  Now that I have a new job, I am thinking about how I would like to volunteer again.

One thing I find frustrating is the fact that many organizations say that the best way to help them is to send money.  I do.  I do donate to organizations that I value.  But I feel no, or minimal, satisfaction in donating money.  It seems to easy to pull out my credit card.

It is a funny situation.  If I want to actually help the organizations about which I care, such as the Cleveland Food Bank, then I should stay at home and send them money.  If I want to make myself feel good, I should help them sort canned goods.

It is also the idea of doing the most possible good.  I have been looking to local organizations because I feel that I want my contributions to matter.  There are large organizations in Cleveland, especially in the arts (Playhouse Square, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Orchestra) that I love but I know that they attract rich and corporate donors.  I want to feel that my contributions are valuable and make a difference.

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