|Monona Chamber & Economic Development, Inc.||
Volunteers are the heart of any community -- Monona is no exception. Whenever you volunteer, you pick the hours and project you work on, and then you personally can make a significant difference in the success v. failure of a project, activity, or event. Volunteerism gives one a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment for helping someone else or a non-profit group's worthy cause.
Picture how much you and your family or friends love attending an annual signature event, say like a Monona Hay Days or GermanFest. The event is planned and organized by community volunteers who've secured sponsors, vendors, activities, and all other event aspects. Now they need to secure the extra ten volunteers each providing three hours of logistical manpower (30 hrs. total) to set up / tear down event equipment and barricades. Without the logistics volunteers helping the planning volunteers -- and the community attending and spending their money for non-profits' gains -- this major event may fail and probably won't happen again due to lack of volunteers, interest, etc. It's sad, but true, and the entire community would be at a loss of its signature annual event.
There are many ways for you to give back and grow your community. Serve on the school board or one of the many city boards or commissions. Join a church and support its local, regional, international missions. Share your time with a non-profit school group or other club to help operate its fundraising booth in order to raise donations for a community project like adding to its all-inclusive playground equipment or giving gas cards to the family of a student fighting cancer to get them to their doctor appointments. Give a couple hours per month to read to children at the library or to elderly residents at the senior living center who may be sight-challenged.
Volunteering is a selfless act that helps another person or group benefit from your actions without asking them for something in return. Annually volunteering several hours of your time to your community may mean the difference between a successful and growing event to one that's a failure and will die out over time.
For example, Monona Hay Days is made up of about 30+/- different Monona-area volunteers, groups and organizations -- comes to about 100 community folks total -- donating their time and talents to put on the 20 - 30 individual components of the two-day festival. Monona Hay Days could not go on or be a success with only its small group of ambitious planning volunteers . . . remember, it does take a village!
There are so many volunteer opportunities around town that are in need of your help! This means volunteer need is great and volunteers are getting harder to find. Sharing your valuable time is critical to this small town and its generally a small group of volunteers (20%) who are doing the bulk of the work (80%). It is critical to Monona's success to cycle in new volunteers to existing projects; others cycle out or move on to other help with other local needs.
Spread around your volunteerism to help with multiple efforts if that fits within your busy schedule. If volunteerism numbers shrink, then events and projects around town will falter, fail, or will not be repeated the next year. So start out with volunteering just an hour or two and you'll feel great helping to make a positive difference in your community. Contact Monona Chamber to find out who's looking for volunteer help or to match your specific talent and expertise to the right project or cause.
Folks, the message here is clear . . . Volunteers are a great gift to Monona to help it produce successful projects, events, & activities. The amount of time you spend giving of yourself and volunteering is entirely up to you. Ultimately, whatever you decide to do will positively impact Monona's ability to grow in a civic, social, & economic manner & draw our community closer to each person & organization.