The Volunteer Experience: Highlighting the Sacrifice and Dedication of VITA Volunteers
Anyone who has been through a single tax season knows the burden of being a VITA volunteer can be great. Long nights, delayed dinners, and time away from family are only a few of the sacrifices. And they keep coming back – but why?
NCTC followed four VITA volunteers from different parts of the country throughout the 2012 tax season to gain perspective on their motivations, goals, challenges, and more. The results were enlightening, but certainly not surprising.
Today, we’re releasing a new report, “The Volunteer Experience: Men and Women Who Make Free Tax Preparation Work,” to demonstrate the extraordinary energy and enthusiasm that volunteers bring to free tax preparation sites each year.
Some of the highlights include:
- Rhonda, a Chicago volunteer who began volunteering after coming into a VITA site as a client. “It’s always wonderful. It’s great to see the smile and see how happy people are when they leave the site with their refund.”
- Dorothy, a Minnesota volunteer and mother of seven whose husband, a fellow VITA volunteer, signed her up without her knowledge. Dorothy has now been a volunteer for nearly a decade!
- Fumi, a New Jersey VITA volunteer who started volunteering after immigrating to the United States in 2002. “Fumi said she felt like a natural with the technical skills. However her social skills have made the most progress as a result of her volunteer experience: ‘I am already comfortable doing the job with the paper, but I want to make it more personal, explain what I’m doing, and talk to clients while doing taxes.’”
- Kate, another Chicago-based volunteer whose mother was also a VITA volunteer and began carrying on her family’s tradition of teaching financial literacy this year. “The uninsured couple had already gone through their retirement savings to pay for treatment. ‘It made me think about the people in the middle that are doing okay, but are at risk if something goes wrong.’”
Volunteers give up much to help struggling families with their taxes – and feel they get much in return. The stories of these four volunteers are compelling in any number of ways – and they’re just four of the more than 63,000 volunteers that VITA depended on last year.
If you’re in need of a pick-me-up or a little motivation, check out “The Volunteer Experience,” and remember how much good our field is doing for working families!
Do you have awesome volunteers with a great story? Tell us in the comments section below!
By Dan Fair, Manager of Communications & Member Relations