I’ve done volunteer work since I was in my early teens. Not because I want to be seen as a ‘do gooder’ but because it feels good to give.
Volunteering is important and desperately needed in many areas of our society. Schools couldn’t function without the army of volunteers that put together fundraisers, help with sports, canteen, reading, excursions and much more.
Charity organisations depend on the expertise and manpower of volunteers. Emergency services and armed forces require volunteers.
Local shows, markets, hospital, fetes, fun runs and sports events require volunteers.
You’re getting the picture right…volunteers are everywhere!
Volunteering gets people out and meeting other people, it helps to educate, helps people with language skills, self esteem and interpersonal skills and it can change people’s lives.
Volunteering is good for the soul and can fill voids in a persons life. If you’ve been considering volunteering I urge you to make the step, here’s a few tips I’ve learned along the way…
– don’t over commit. I know your heart is in the right place and your enthusiasm is high but trust me, start small with just a few hours and after a few months reassess. You may want to give more time or you may find a few hours is just enough for you.
– being a volunteer is being part of a team…there is no ‘I’ in team.
– sometimes paid roles can come up, if it feels right then throw your hat in the ring. Of course the whole ‘vibe’ of the role might change so be prepared for that.
– never bring the organisation you volunteer for into disrepute, this includes keeping hush about the inner workings.
– If you feel you’re being taken advantage of then speak up to your supervisor or go higher if you need to.
– if you feel you aren’t getting what you need from the relationship then speak up, supervisors aren’t mind readers and you just need to have an honest conversation about you would like to be giving and receiving.
– There’s lots of ‘rules’ and HR stuff in some organisations so be cool with that. Some organisations have thousands of volunteers so there’s lots of paperwork to be done and structures to implement.
– Inclusion is so much nicer than exclusion. Sometimes you just ‘click’ with some people and new friends are made while volunteering which is awesome. What isn’t awesome is gossip, judging people because of their race, language, religion or background. Everybody has a story so take the time to get to know people you might not ordinarily mix with.
– present for ‘work’ in a clean and timely manner. Just because it’s volunteer work doesn’t mean standards go out the window.
– take advantage of any free training or courses that might be offered, they are great for personal growth but especially awesome if you are looking to get back to the workforce.
– when you’ve had enough and just aren’t enjoying your role anymore don’t hang on, it won’t serve you or the organisation. It’s ok to say no, let go, move on.
You might need to try a few roles before you find the right fit of volunteer work for you but once you do the rewards will be enormous…you know, good karma and grateful heart and all 🙂
Til next time,
find volunteer roles through SEEK VOLUNTEER