“The essence of life is to serve others and do good.”—Aristotle

April is National Volunteer Month, but March is the peak of volunteerism in Ponte Vedra Beach as The PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP swings into action. More than 2,200 people from the U.S. and seven foreign countries—Germany, Argentina, Columbia, Canada, The United Kingdom, Scotland and Switzerland—perform  a host of tasks from course marshals and corporate hospitality to checking credentials, caddying and more, top tournament volunteer/red coat chairman Andy Carroll said.

All of this volunteerism results in a hefty sum of charitable donations. In 2019, The PLAYERS distributed $9.25 million to charities. The giving has eclipsed $100 million since 1977, Carroll said.

*[Rooney Bin 1] There’s a saying; volunteers are seldom paid; not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless. Nevertheless, there are benefits to giving time and money to a good cause. Volunteerism teaches new skills and keeps you active as well as earning recognition. Listing volunteer experience on a resume can lead to employment in a related field and expand your social and business networks. Volunteering is said to improve health by strengthening the body, improving mood and lessening stress. Donating your time and skill also can be a lot of fun.

*[Rooney Bin 2] For example, the perfect volunteer job for dog lovers is bound to be available at K9s For Warriors, a non-profit founded in 2011 to rescue and train service dogs that in turn serve veterans who have post traumatic stress disorder. Shari Duval founded K9s For Warriors when her son Brett returned from Iraq, where he did contract work as a canine police officer and developed PTSD. She created a program to train service dogs to help her son and other vets reduce their risk of suicide. K9s pairs the rescued dogs with veterans and trains them to work together. As a result, the Palm Valley non-profit has become this country’s largest provider of service dogs for disabled American vets.

 Some of the ways volunteers help are by cooking for the veterans in training, caring for the dogs and raising puppies. There are many stories behind each pairing, but March 10 was a three Rory tale at THE PLAYERS Championship. That is when K9s CEO Rory Diamond introduced defending Players Championship golfer Rory McIlroy to his namesakeRory, a one-year-old white Labrador service dog in-training to be paired with a disabled vet in a couple of months. Rory the canine wagged his tail as McIlroy dropped to his knees to pet him. “I could do this all day long,” he said.

The Final words…Americans have been volunteering since they disembarked on the new world. They banded together to help each other plant crops and build homes. Perhaps the most famous volunteer recruiter is Benjamin Franklin who created the first volunteer–run firehouse in 1736.

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistic reports volunteers are worth an average of $24.14 an hour and are more than twice as likely to donate to a charity they support as those who don’t volunteer. That’s all the more reason to recruit volunteers.

The most effective way to recruit is to simply ask. Focus on the benefit of joining your organization, provide a range of tasks you need done, be specific about what you’re asking them to do, and keep in mind the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”