It’s National Volunteer Week so if you’ve been thinking of raising your hand to help, here’s what you need to know.
1. Volunteering Requirements
Volunteering Victoria CEO Sue Noble believes there really is something for everyone. However, you still need to set practical guidelines and standards. "Not everyone can take advantage of every volunteering opportunity as, like any work, some volunteering opportunities might have specific requirements, such as an availability or time commitment, age requirements, physical ability or unique skills or experience,” she explains.
2. Volunteering Varieties
Volunteering Victoria recently redefined what it means to volunteer, as previous ideas became quite antiquated.
Its website states: "volunteering’ is time willingly given for the common good without financial gain."
This new definition hoped to capture the broad and varied nature of volunteering.
“Some of the many sectors and areas people volunteer in include everything from sport to emergency services, arts and culture, the environment, animals, aid and most every aspect of life and human activity," Sue explains.
There are also options for both skilled professionals - such as lawyers, accountants and marketing experts - and unskilled workers, participating in activism or episodic, spontaneous and virtual (online or via social media) volunteering.
3. Volunteering Pays
Maybe not monetarily, but you get back way more than you give, depending on what you connect with. It may be building social connectedness and integration within communities to mitigate isolation and loneliness or aiding and inspiring a pathway to employment for someone. Whatever you choose, the feelings of self-worth, of being valued and of contributing to the community are priceless.
4. Volunteering Takes Planning
Volunteering is a commitment and one you should not take lightly. Consider your motivation. Why are you volunteering? How does this play into your interests and passions so that you can be a better volunteer? Also, think realistically about the time you can commit, the skills you can bring to the table and the experience and resources you can offer.
5. Volunteering Can Be Approached Several Ways
Job search engines, such as Seek, advertise opportunities for people to volunteer - allowing you to search for the right position.
You should also be able to search for local groups on the internet, or via your local council.
Alternatively, if your employer offers a corporate volunteering program this is also a good way to explore how you can use your skills towards volunteering.
6. Volunteering Starts, But Doesn’t Stop With You
A new campaign highlights the key messages of what volunteering can create, such as the transformation of communities. Check out 'Imagine The Possibilities' to be truly inspired!
May 9-15 is National Volunteer Week. Head to the Volunteer Week website to discover events and opportunities.