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Volunteer Week Reflections from AARP SD State President, Jill Tyler

“If you want something done, ask a busy person!”

Have you heard this advice? I’ve found that it is often true – our friends who are already busy manage to find time to do MORE!  While this seems illogical – we all have 24 hours in a day, right? – research has found that busy people do feel that they have more time.

If it seems like volunteering has been the focus of a lot of research lately, that’s because it has. Scholars, business and management experts and social scientists have produced research that tells us how to start volunteering, the benefits of volunteering, why we like volunteering, how organizations can attract more volunteers, and dozens more! Most of the findings confirm what we already know – we volunteer to help other people.

Volunteering has been a way of life for years, but while I watched my father mow the church lawn and my mother address envelopes for a school fundraising project, I never heard them talk about how their skills fit the task, or how rewarding they found their service.  They were just doing what needed to be done for the communities they cared about.  As I meet AARP members and volunteers across the state, that commitment holds true – We are doing what needs to be done in the communities we care about.

Based on my observations, we devote our time to tasks, but we are working for people – reading to children in elementary schools, delivering meals and visiting with those who are confined to their homes, and advocating for legislation that will strengthen our communities.  This week we take the time to celebrate the dedication of our volunteer corps across South Dakota, but the effects of your service extend well beyond our state and this moment in time. You are making an immeasurable difference on the world we leave behind.  Thank you, on behalf of AARP South Dakota and all of the individuals and communities you serve, for all you do in support of others.

I would revise that quotation to say:

“When something needs to be done, ask a caring person.  They may be busy, but they are not too busy to care!” 



Research was conducted by Mogilner, and published in the Harvard Business Review in 2012.