At a time like this when globally people are going through difficulties, when businesses are suffering and economies are in turmoil, many people and business organisations are looking more inwards and for opportunities that would allow them to survive this crisis.
In my view, over and above the personal motivation though, there is a lot more to be gained from volunteering at this point in time. Furthermore, organisations should seriously consider the benefit of encouraging their employees to volunteer and support causes within their communities.
Let’s examine in a bit more detail, the benefit of volunteering at a time like this.
In my journeys and when I do come across young school leavers or graduates, new migrants, those seeking to re-enter the workplace, retirees etc. I encourage volunteering because of the immense professional and personal benefits that comes with it.
Making Friends and Meeting new people
Aside from giving back, volunteers become part of a caring and supportive community. You will get to meet like-minded people who share the same ideals and passion as you do.
What most people don’t know is that there is a powerful network of people who volunteer. They offer support, encouragement and can be indeed motivational. Standing outside and looking in, volunteering can come across as a journey that you undertake alone. In my experience that is not the case. Charities and not for profits are exceedingly supportive of their volunteers.
In my journey as a volunteer I have met a lot of incredibly great people who not only volunteer their time and resources but are also incredibly supportive of new volunteers.
Building new competencies
There are many people who have a clear idea as to what they want to do with their careers but they have the challenge of being able to acquire the skills necessary for that next step up. A good reason being that organisations can be limiting in terms of opportunities. Volunteering can be an avenue to gain those skills because charities are generally more willing to accept transferable skills and allow volunteers to take on additional responsibilities.
There are many roles and opportunities within this sector that will challenge and stretch you.
As an example, one of the charities I represent are looking for a volunteer Director of Fundraising. In the commercial workplace that type of vacancy would attract very senior level applicants. Unfortunately, the advertisement received very low patronage. Did the fact that it’s a non-paying role a factor in the low response/interest? I am inclined to think that played a major factor.
So, what about experienced professionals? Aside from personal fulfilment what else do you gain from volunteering your time and skills? Well, a lot I would say.
Regardless of where you are in your career, volunteering will be a value-added experience I can assure you. If nothing at all, meeting other volunteers, listening to their journey and experience will certainly humble you.
If you have taken the time and patience to read thus far please don’t just walk away. There are many organisations and people who would benefit immensely from your skill and experience.
You are great in the kitchen? Go to a soup kitchen and make people great and hot meals
You are a wonderful administrator and planner? There are many charities that would benefit from your experience as a trustee
You love numbers and can make a little money go a long way? Have you considered being a Treasurer?
Are you a social media guru? Trust me you can support charities raise their online profile
Do you have contacts who can give funds to charities? Maybe your own calling would be in fundraising
The list goes on and on…….
You can add so much value!
There is a volunteer waiting in each and every one of us.