I find that those whose hearts bleed for everything and everyone have no blood left to sacrifice when it counts.
For example, the Peace Corps initiative: Live Like a Volunteer. Peace Corps has a lot of fantastic initiatives. These initiatives are problems that continue from one group of volunteers to the next. In Mongolia there’s an Alcohol Awareness Initiative to deal with the enormous problem of alcoholism in the country. Personally, one of my regrets in Mongolia is not finding a way to work with that initiative more. We also had an AIDS Awareness initiative that was useful, but I imagine much more useful in the Peace Corps countries that people typically associate with the organization, African and tropical countries.
The Live Like a Volunteer initiative is unique with its more domestic focus. It encourages family and friends back home in the States to give up something (like using their fridge, taking showers, using a laundry machine) for a short while, maybe a week, maybe more. It is also a rather gross display of back-patting and largely pointless.
Friends and family back in the States have already given up something, they've given up easy access to, and even a certain amount of communication with, their loved one who is off trying to change the world. I am not trying to disparage the sacrifices made by volunteers, because those sacrifices are not negligible. Going without heat, or without air conditioning, without fast food, without electricity, the internet, yes those are big deals. But as volunteers, our rewards are plentiful as well. We get respect from people back home even if we don't always get it at site. We get a lot of our daily concerns taken care of (health insurance, rent paid for, etc). We choose to go overseas, to give luxury up and gain many tangible and intangible things in return. Our families and friends, however, give us up without really getting much of a say in it.
As usual, I'm also results-oriented, and when people give up something for a week of "Living Like a Volunteer," I want to know what is the result? Do they give up using air conditioning for a week and then someone who has never lived with A/C gets it for a week? No, nothing happens except that awareness is supposedly "raised." Our friends and families already were aware of how we live, we complain to them all about it! This is my effort at being productive instead of complaining (hey, I know I can use adjustment, I'm not perfect). Change "Live Like a Volunteer," to have better guidelines for what people should go without. Have your parents go without chicken for a month, and then donate chicken soup cans to shelters. Have your friends with big ass ... hearts, turn off the heating for a week and give the resulting savings to Country Funds (there's also another donation process to give to specific projects, but I apologize, I'm having difficulty finding the site).
So, go ahead, bleeding hearts, bleed the good out, but make your sacrifice mean something.
You only owe it to yourself.