Volunteering Your Time And Skills With A Charity

Why should I volunteer for a charity?

There are many reasons why people volunteer their time and skills to charities but, out of all the motives, what connects them together is the fact that volunteering is believed to be challenging, rewarding, good for our soul and humanity. 

The refugee crisis has made headlines on a daily basis, so with, the inaction of many governments, the shocking image of Alyan Kurdi, a three-year-old washed up on a beach in Turkey, dehumanising images of people stuck in limbo while Europe closes its borders,  many ordinary people have taken to volunteering. This includes from providing schooling to bringing supplies to camps in the form of clothing, food, water and shelter.  It seems  charities and its volunteers pick up from where government’s fail to act.

There are several charity types with a broad range of missions that include Environmental, International NGOs, Animal, Health, Education and the Arts.  Giving up your time can be challenging if you have a demanding job and responsibilities. You may be a stay at home mum with a few hours to spare in your day, your kids are all grown up and living away from home or you have a full-time job and  household to run,  volunteering might still be something you could consider.  It is a chance to venture into or try something new and to make a significant difference in the life of others.

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Who can volunteer?

Apparently, anyone can volunteer, no matter your age, background, experience or skills. To volunteer for a charity or community organisation, you should research first about the values and mission of the organisation. Do a simple Google search; go on YouTube or visit social media pages and notice what comes up in the news feeds. Take a look at their recruitment or volunteering page and see if there are any opportunities you can immediately apply for. 

You could try getting together with individuals, community groups and organisational events, Meetups, fundraisers or social gatherings.  Ask as many questions as you can about the variety of roles on offer. If you can get a chance to shadow a volunteer then take that opportunity to learn all you can. Ask at work if your organisation is affiliated with any charities and if there are opportunities where you can offer your time and skills.

If you find you want to support a particular charity then why not start by donating first and read all you can in the charity’s information pack or email alerts. This is an opportunity to keep up to date with all the great work your chosen charity is doing. Even the smallest thing you can offer could make a lot of differences to a charity and it beneficiaries, though it might be small to you.

Some of the motives to volunteer could include:

  • Make an optimistic difference
  • Acquire skills and offer your specialist skills
  • Meet skilled interesting people
  • Gain/acquire more work experience
  • Test a potential career
  • Give something meaningful back to the society

So why else should I volunteer?

  • It promotes real learning and professional experience. You can develop new skills by doing 31066986_lvoluntary work. 
  • By meeting people you get to learn from them and at the same time they will learn from you. New skills acquired can help enhance one’s CV. Apart from learning; you get to test out a potential professional career.
  • It promotes love, unity, humanity and help strengthen community bonds.
  • It can lead to helping you pick up new career from the skills you have acquired during the process.
  • One can never know or predict where such act can take you. By meeting like-minded people, you will get new insights, connections with people you’ve never thought of meeting.
  • Voluntary work is not limited to an area; it can be in another country, that way you get to go on an adventure, meet new people and visit new places.
  • Volunteering can help meet the basic human need and it promote a sense of belonging and community.

Examples of volunteering

  • Animal Rescue Shelters   20235346_l
  • National Parks
  • Food Pantries
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Local Libraries
  • Art Museums
  • Political Campaigns
  • YMCA
  • Retirement Homes
  • Red Cross and other NGOs
(Source: www.moneycrashers.com)

Three places to start your volunteering journey (US based)

1. VolunteerMatch.org

2. Idealist.org

3. HandsOn Network

(Source: http://wiredimpact.com)

Online Volunteering for NGOs

*note if you are working with young people, some countries require you to have background checks due to safeguarding policies

Author: Asian Mums Network guest blogger

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About the author: AMN