Let’s Face It, The 5 Real Reasons You Actually Volunteer

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There are a million reasons why you should volunteer. But I know you, readers. I have seen your comments and followed your posts and also know you in real life. Therefore, I know what drives you and feeds the beast of your Millennial desires. I also keep hoping you understand what satire is. Let’s find out.

Real talk: it honestly doesn’t matter why you volunteer. It only matters that you do and that you give it 100% while you’re doing it. Anyone who says differently probably doesn’t volunteer very often. And in our busy lives, there’s no excuse not to spend at least 3 hours out of the entire year helping out your fellow humans or animals or planet.

So I locked into our collective hivemind to bring you the only real reasons you’ll need to convince yourself and your friends to get good.

#HumbleBrag on Social Media

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You up on FB? Instagram? Snapchat? Twitter? Good. Because once you start posting your good deeds on the Internet, you can feel the glow of a million likes. Plug into the machine, baby, and photo-brag your way into 5 seconds where people think you’re a really good person. Plus it brings more awareness to the cause you’re helping out and the organization you’re doing it with…but it’s really just about your followers.

Meet Your Next Baby Mama/Daddy

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If you’re into producing viable offspring or if you’re just into the activity that produces viable offspring, volunteering is a good way of weeding out non-starters. You’ve got to assume that almost every person at a volunteer gig either has a good heart or is really good at pretending to have one. Either way, lock that shit down. And by being there, meeting them, and having some laughs/sympathy cries over wrapping canned goods or sludging through drain pipe water–you are also now part of their good gene pool candidates.

Non-Denominational Amends

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Maybe you’re Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or into that Spaghetti Monster thing that I think is still around. Chances are your religion wants you to devote some time to charity. And even if you’re an atheist/agnostic/spiritual (confession: I started calling myself “spiritual” because it’s the best option on dating apps), you should volunteer charitably anyway because the idea is still the same. You are a garbage person deep in your heart. But the good news is, you can wash away your sins with good deeds. It’s like exercising after eating cake. Instead, you’re helping strangers or animals or the environment. If the Kardashians can do it, so can you.

Inner Smugness

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There’s an age-old debate that volunteer work isn’t truly selfless because of how good you feel doing it. Listen, I am not about that martyr-life. I enjoy and truly bask in the warm glow of feeling that comes after a measly 2-hour shift in a soup kitchen. I regularly volunteer with a dog shelter where I play with small, furry love-bears. So haaaard. I don’t kindly give a shit whether or not I’m supposed to think volunteering is easy. Sometimes it’s not, but you don’t have to punish yourself every single time you do it. It’s no fun for anyone if you’re viewing your volunteer work like it’s a punishment.

Because Stop Complaining

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Along with drinking and yoga, there is one thing San Franciscans are really good at: complaining. Getting all up on a soap box to talk about how no one recycles properly. How the big tech companies don’t give back to the community. How the arts are disappearing in schools. How we’re losing natural resources at an alarming rate. These are all real things, but you’d probably look like less of an ass if you nutted up and actually went out in the world to do something about it. So stop commenting on your friends’ feeds and start posting some goddamn photos of homeless people you’re knitting sweaters for, or the baby sparrow whose nest you saved in the park. Just bring it full-circle, you liberal crusader.

Here are some local organizations that would love for you to come and help:


SF-Marin Food Bank

Room to Read

Save the Bay

Family Dog Rescue

One Brick

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Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

Candace Cui - Actual Unicorn

At age 2, I was getting run over by a bike in an alley in China. At age 8, I was avoiding man-o-wars on Tybee Island. At age 14, I was overdrinking sweet tea while running through the woods barefoot. At age 20, I was learning Art History and how to drop it low. At age 25, I was making fun of drum circles at Dolores. At every age, I am charming the fuck out of you. Just wait, it'll happen.