Volunteering 101: The guide you didn't know you needed
Often we associate volunteering for those superhumans - those people who seem to have bountiful amounts of time. Currently I bet volunteering is one of those things you would love to do, but just haven't made time for. But it is often a question that gets asked in job interviews. So why bother volunteering?
I personally have been a volunteer for a non-for profit organisation for six years. I started attending meetings with my mother and soon after, was involved in the organisation. I have been in many different roles, marketing assistant, treasurer, secretary – all positions have really complimented my bachelor degree and I have definitely transferred skills from both education and the role.
When I first started with the organisation it was comprised mainly of 45+ year olds. At the time they were organising a fundraising ball and discussing their paper ticketing system they had used for the past 3 balls. My jaw was literally on the floor, had these people not known about the internet? I was shook! I quickly filled them in on online ticketing systems. Boy did that make an impact, we sold 250 extra tickets that year and majority were from online sales.
It's those moments where you feel really fabulous about the contribution you can make and the potentially ripple impact that it can have on society. And that’s the best part of volunteering – the impact you make to whatever activity/group you’re involved with.
I have had my fair share though of the 'downs' - disagreements, frustrations, long hours with no pay. However I always bring myself back to the initial core of why I joined the organisation, and you have to! Remember it is a volunteer role!
So here are my tips on volunteering:
1. Find something youre interested in. Don’t know where to start? Start by thinking about what makes you tick. Fashion, reading, culture etc. From here it’ll be easier to find a group or organisation.
2. Be open to new ideas and to contribute new ideas. The best way to go to meetings is with an open mind.
3. You’ll notice people’s differences – find a way that works for you and for them. One thing you’ll notice is the differences in peoples backgrounds, education, lifestyle. It may be challenging to cooperate, however remember to keep the end in mind. Keep in mind why you’re there.
4. Don’t let it overtake your mind or detract you from your 'real' job. Leading up to big events can be really time consuming. Remember that it is not the most important thing in your life and you shouldn’t make it. Remember you have a job and this is just an additional passion or co-curricular you are interested in.
5. Have fun. Enjoy the good feels!