Thursday November 27, 2014


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Where did all the volunteers go?

Tanya’s Tales

According to Statistics Canada, volunteerism is declining in Canada. The percentage of people giving of their time is decreasing, however, those who do give of their time, give more of it.

In 2013, Weyburn saw the final days of the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary due to a decrease in numbers. In general, all community service groups are suffering continuous drops in membership.

This could be due to a number of things. Could it be a strain on free time? Perhaps it's a technological shift from localized volunteering to a more globalized approach? Or is it that Generation Y is a group of lazy, narcissistic people?

The millennial generation have the most single parent families. This puts a strain on free time, with one parent working and running children to and from their extra-curricular activities. It leaves very little time to become involved in any kind of volunteer activities.

More often than not, this generation mostly help others as an informal way of volunteering, with day-to-day activities such as household tasks, health-related or personal care, or errands instead of serving for the traditional community groups.

Generation Y has a whole new approach to living and working than their predecessors. They expect a different workplace than their parents had. They want flexible jobs, prefer working from home and they also want to stay connected to their personal lives via social media while at work.

They work to live. I don't believe its people born after 1980 that are narcissists, it's that young people are narcissistic, and they get over themselves as they get older.

Their self indulgence is a result of the age gap. Middle age folks tend to freak out over cultural differences between themselves and 20-something's.

Every generation is handed problems of the past. While Baby Boomers were influenced by the aftermath of World War II, television, rock and roll, the Vietnam War and the hippie movement, Generation Y has grown up with terrorism, global warming, the internet, globalization and social media.

This generation of volunteers possess some of the greatest tools in this globalized world. The evolution of the internet can prove to be an incredible tool in the success of any service group.

In order to reach out to young people and get them involved in volunteering, groups and organizations need to re-invent themselves.

Maybe young people will volunteer and be committed to a cause they believe in, contributing to the betterment of their community if the approach inspires them to do so. They highly value their time and want to know what's in it for them.

The inability of traditional community service groups to adapt to the changing volunteer work force could be what has led to a decline in their success.

If these organizations can grow and adapt to the changing world, there is no reason why they can't continue to be the cornerstone of the community and a source of pride for all generations to share.



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