I have no idea how many volunteers there are in Australia, or the world, but I do know they need more recognition!
What would we do without them? They care for the sick, give the lonely company, arrange fund-raising events, give of their own time in their busy lives, save governments (local, State and Federal) millions of dollars by looking after those who cannot look after themselves, support local sporting clubs that would not be there without them, assist local schools to raise money to help our children, look after children that are not theirs (grandparents) because many children’s parents cannot, take care of their partner when they cannot do it themselves, fight fires for us and pick up rubbish that is crudely discarded by unthinking morons.
The list goes on, and on, and on and on.
They do all of these things expecting nothing in return except for an occasional “thank you”.
I have a suggestion; why don’t we recognise them officially and publicly on a regular basis. Thank them more as a whole community and reward their sacrifices in some way that says “If you had not contributed your time for free, nothing would have happened and our entire society would suffer as a result”.
My suggestion is that we award volunteers points, perhaps one point for every hour they contribute to making the world around us a much better place?
Then, at the end of the year, their points are submitted and based upon the number of points received they receive something in return. Perhaps it is a plaque they can put on their wall to make them feel proud and appreciated, or a dinner out whilst others look after their family for once, or a reduction in their income taxes (much cheaper for the government than having to employ people and systems to fill the gap), or a range of gifts they can choose from donated by corporates and those of us who don’t (or just cannot) volunteer ourselves?
The more points they accrue the more their ‘appreciation gift’ is worth.
Volunteers are constantly overlooked, taken for granted and have their contribution ignored by governments that would be penniless without them.
Many volunteers, indeed most of them, contribute expecting nothing in return and I believe they should. If we continue to take them for granted they may very well withdraw their services and would have every right to do so.
We desperately need these amazing volunteers, yet do little in the way of acknowledging them and this imbalance, if allowed to continue, could result in all of us paying higher taxes to employ people to fill the significant gap that volunteers currently provide. Or we go without the services they provide, and our lives would be the lesser for it.
Volunteers are the backbone of our society, and sustained and meaningful acknowledgement of this fact needs to occur in order to keep the volunteers we have, and to encourage others to contribute.