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Opening monologue: Volunteering

Opening monologue from the volunteering episode of The Saturday Night Special on WGN Radio: Listen to full show >>

This week on the Saturday Night Special, we’re taking a look at volunteerism and philanthropy– but I don’t necessarily mean philanthropy like Bill Gates foundation level stuff, but rather, the kind of giving that we can all do– sometimes through resources, other times through effort or time, and sometimes simply by showing up for others who need us.

A favorite quote of mine, one I’m sure you’ve heard, is attributed to Mother Teresa and goes like this: “do not wait for leaders; do it alone person by person.” // No doubt the quote overlooks the power of community organizing and how much even small groups of people can accomplish when determined and committed, but the quote does speak to the importance for the taking situations moment by moment and responding compassionately and with a giving heart in whatever way we are each able in a given moment. It encourages us to act, and reminds us that we have more power to create change person by person than perhaps we realize.

Because while superheroes might save the world all at once, for us mere mortals, saving the world means doing what we each can alongside others doing the same. And, indeed, every action no doubt counts and adds up.

And that’s all good, and we’re going to talk about it.

But, let’s be real– time is at a premium for everyone, there are thousands of organizations competing for out time and attention, and sometimes causes seems like a great idea, then later, we realize they aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Or that we could have done more.

Digging even deeper, sometimes good intentions don’t truly help the people we are aiming to serve, and really only succeed in making volunteers feel good about volunteering.

So tonight, we’ll talk about how to be smart and strategic about the organizations we support, and how to avoid good intentions that can sometimes be harmful to the very population they aim to help. I’ll be joined by WGN Radio regular, Lisa Dietlin, CEO of Institute of Transformational Philanthropy and Dr. Noelle Sullivan, cultural and medical anthropologist from Northwestern University.

That’s all coming up tonight on the Saturday Night Special on WGN.

Listen to full show >>