Hey, I’m Chris. I’m new at Incitement. After a month of settling in, my colleagues have bestowed upon me the privilege of writing a post for the Incitement Blog. So yeah, this is my first blogpost. And I’m pretty excited! (Or should I say Incited? Heck, whatever works best for you.)

Even though I’ve only just arrived in Malaysia, I didn’t come out of the blue. I’ve actually known about Incitement since its very inception. A good couple of years ago. Since then I’ve seen it grow into what it is today. But only from a distance. I have to admit, a while ago I didn’t even really know what Incitement did. Well, I mean, of course, I understood the ideology behind it, Which was to inspire people to do good and create positive impact. It’s just that I was unable to describe in under a minute what it is that Incitement does.
volunteering or voluntourism?

Image courtesy of Google

“What do you do?”

And it wasn’t just me. I remember having a chat with one of the co-founders, Daniel, a few years back. And asking him to explain just that; “What do you do? What does Incitement do?” At that time Incitement was spreading rapidly, Conquering one country after another and launching initiative after initiative. They organised events, introduced the Incitement Growth and Youth programmes and even organised workshops for beginning entrepreneurs. So when I asked Daniel, “What do you do?” There was just too much to tell. Incitement was growing so rapidly in so many directions, that it was lacking a clear focus.

But that’s alright. Because they were still discovering. One thing is for sure, though. Throughout the years the two co-founders have always had a clear vision as to where they want to take the company. They were just still discovering how to take it there. And that wasn’t easy. Especially when you consider that the events they were organising, were completely free of charge for everyone who wanted to attend. I mean, how will you break-even if you don’t have cash flowing in?
Does being a voluntourist do more harm or more good??

But the co-founders stuck with it.

Always believing in their vision to be a social business with an emphasis on the social part. Never asking money for anything and relying solely on the help of volunteers. In doing so, they steadily built an enormous community of people who got inspired by Incitement. People just got so inspired that they couldn’t wait to do something with that inspiration. And Incitement facilitates just that. It gives you a platform where you can meet like-minded people and go out and do stuff together. Important stuff. Stuff that really matters: helping others. I call this the Incitement experience.

A few years later, looking back, the co-founders realized the potential of the movement they’ve built from the ground up.

Now, there is laser focus and a clear vision.

And the team behind Incitement has lined up behind that vision and is doing everything in its might to make that vision a reality. It’s really cool seeing people come together like that. I can’t say too much about it, but trust me, 2017 is going to be an amazing year for us.

I’ll tell you of my first Incitement experience instead.

It’s actually the reason I started writing this post, to tell you about an experience I had last week here in Kuala Lumpur. You see, having attended my very first Incitement event last September, I too felt inspired and motivated to go out and do something about the sh*t I complain about. I tried to go along with the Liter of Light build we had last week, but unfortunately the amount of volunteers was limited and the build was private, so I couldn’t go. So me and my girlfriend (Famke) asked a friend if we could tag along with him as he went to volunteer at a soup kitchen here in KL. This friend, Amrit, is Sikh and thus the philosophy of helping people is deeply embedded in his beliefs and culture. He volunteers every week at many different places, and me and Famke thought so highly of this that we wanted to go with him and experience it for ourselves. He gladly arranged for us to be present during a food handout at a soup kitchen, But when we got there and took a look around, we felt so out of place that we felt uncomfortable staying there.
the good and the bad of volunteering

What happened, you ask? Let me try and explain.

Volunteering, obviously, is a noble cause. We at Incitement know that all too well. But we also know that, unless you’re volunteering on a regular basis instead of just being a one-timer, you’re not really helping anyone but yourself. Looking around at that soup kitchen and seeing the people there, I could only imagine the dire circumstances they go through every day. And coming from the Western world, clothed nicely and well fed with money in my pockets, It just didn’t feel right coming there “just to see what it was like”. I felt like a tourist on a day out. And, obviously, I was. But this wasn’t the place to play the tourist. Because for the people there, it’s a reality they have to cope with every single day. Obviously, I might have been overthinking the whole situation, but still.

One day fly

We left, but only after committing ourselves to do it right the next time we volunteer. So many of us go out to volunteer, at the soup kitchen for example, but so little of us make a habit out of doing so. We feed the people there and then leave again, feeling good about ourselves for doing something good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing putting yourself out there. But remember that the same people you were helping today, will be hungry again tomorrow. They’re are hungry right now. So what good is it if we just stop by, hand out some food and then return to our comfortable lives?

If every volunteer would be a one-day-fly, like we were on that day, those people at the soup kitchen would probably have to go the bed at night without having had anything to eat at all.

Commit to create impact

We need to make a habit out of volunteering in order for it to truly create impact. Amrit has committed. Me and Famke learned our lesson and have pledged to commit. How about you? Will you commit?

Join the Incitement tribe of volunteers today and we’ll make sure you get the most out of your volunteering experience, while creating lasting impact for those in need.

Let me know what you think of my first blog post!

Share your comments below