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It's time to focus on the positives of humanity

Words by Amy Packham

While many may focus their New Year's resolutions on getting back to the gym, or committing to stop those Friday night takeaways, there's another resolution you could commit to that'll help others.

How about volunteering?

This year, Reach Volunteering is calling on voluntary groups and volunteers to #ChangeTheStory about humanity in a national campaign. It aims to challenge the perception that people are primarily driven by ‘selfish’ values such as power, wealth and status. 

The #ChangeTheStory campaign focuses on the compassionate values that motivate people to volunteer. 

Janet Thorne, CEO of Reach, said: “The simple truth is that most of us care deeply about one another and the world around us. At Reach, we see thousands of volunteers regularly give their time and their skills, to help others.

"And yet every day, we receive messages from our workplaces, from advertising and politics, and popular culture that people are primarily driven by ‘selfish’ values such as power, wealth and status”. 

“The story we tell ourselves about what it means to be human is important. It’s time to #ChangeTheStory. Together, we will change the world.” 

The campaign is based on research by the Common Cause Foundation, that found 74% of people in the UK place greater importance on values like kindness, helpfulness and equality than values like wealth, achievement and ambition.

However, most of us (77%) tend to underestimate others, assuming that people are more likely to place more importance on self-interested values than on values of justice and care.

This misperception (also known as the ‘perception gap’) holds people back from playing their part in addressing society’s issues like inequality and the climate crisis.

As part of the campaign, volunteers are being encouraged to help create a more accurate picture of humanity and the values that the majority of us hold to be the most important.

It's being run in partnership with Action for Trustee Racial Diversity UK, Association of Chairs, Charity Retail Association, Charterpath, Common Cause Foundation, Getting On Board, Inspiring Scotland, The Jewish Volunteering Network, SCVO (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations), Volunteering Matters and The Commemoration Hall Huntingdon.

The campaign film and information on how to get involved can be found on the #ChangeTheStory campaign webpage on the Reach website:

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partnerships for the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs