|Information about Volunteering|
What is Volunteering?
Volunteering is described as an unpaid activity where someone gives their time to help a not-for-profit organisation or an individual who they are not related to.
One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. However, volunteering is a two-way street, and it can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.
Volunteering helps you make new friends and contacts
One of the best ways to make new friends and strengthen existing relationships is to commit to a shared activity together. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, especially if you are new to an area. Volunteering also strengthens your ties to the community and broadens your support network, exposing you to people with common interests, neighbourhood resources, and fun and fulfilling activities.
Volunteering increases your social and relationship skills
While some people are naturally outgoing, others are shy and have a hard time meeting new people. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to practice and develop your social skills, since you are meeting regularly with a group of people with common interests. Once you have momentum, it’s easier to branch out and make more friends and contacts.
Tips for Getting Started Volunteering
First, ask yourself if there is something specific you want to do.
For example, do I want…
The best way to volunteer is to match your personality and interests. Having answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search.
Consider your goals and interests
You will have a richer and more enjoyable volunteering experience if you first take some time to identify your goals and interests. Start by thinking about why you want to volunteer. Also think about what you would enjoy doing. Volunteer opportunities that match both your goals and your interests are most likely to be fun and fulfilling for you.
Source: World Volunteer Web
How to find the right volunteer opportunity
There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is to find a volunteer position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It’s also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organization’s needs.
The following questions can help you narrow your options:
Getting the most out of volunteering
You’re donating your valuable time, so it’s important that you enjoy and benefit from your volunteering. It’s important to make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit and to communicate with the people you’re working with in the volunteer organization.
I have limited mobility - can I still volunteer?
Whether due to a lack of transportation, time constraints, a disability or other reasons, many people prefer to volunteer via phone or computer. There are many projects where you can help. Writing and graphic design lends itself to working at home, and in today’s digital age many organisations might also need help with email and websites.
If you think home-based volunteering might be right for you, contact organisations you like and ask what some of the possibilities might be. Some volunteer organisations may require you to attend an initial training or periodical meetings. You also want to make sure that you are getting enough social contact, and that the organisation is available to support you should you have questions.
Can volunteering lead to paid employment?
Volunteering can really help you get a job - but not always as quickly as you’d like. To get the most out of volunteering it helps to have realistic expectations.
If you take on a volunteer role, and are committed, you will get huge benefits.
For example you can:
• Keep your skills fresh
• Get new skills and experience
• Increase your confidence levels
• Get references
The experiences you gain through volunteering will really help when you come to complete job applications and do interviews. But of course you will still have to apply and compete for any job. You may or may not get the first job you apply for, but you will be on the road to getting paid work.
To get the most out of your volunteering, it helps to think beforehand about what you would like to gain, such as particular skills or experience. And, volunteering should be something you actively want to do. To put it another way, you shouldn’t be volunteered – but you might want to volunteer!
|Last Updated on Friday, 13 January 2012 15:55|