Welcome back to part 2 of our series – volunteering it’s a great way to gain or improve your work skills, increasing your interests or just learning new skills and making new friends.
What do you get from volunteering?? While you are donating your time it’s important that you can and do benefit from your time. Try and make sure that who you volunteer with and how you volunteer your time is a good fit, so that you give what you want and you get what you want from your time.
Before you start ask questions to ensure you’ll get the most out of your experience. If you have questions – speak up, will you have to take on extra training, are there requirements, do you have the requirements necessary – how can you gain them if you don’t. Who will you be working with? And what time commitments will you need to make – if any? Before you start any new volunteering role make sure you know what is expected of you, if you have to commit to a schedule, is it flexible. Don’t over commit yourself – give yourself the flexibility to change if you need to.
Never be afraid to change, if you’re not happy with what you are doing, speak up and ask if changes can be made to make the experience better. If you are looking to gain new skills for a career – stay goal orientated and work towards learning those new skills.
Make sure you are having fun! The best volunteer experience is for the benefit of both the organisation and the volunteer. If you are not enjoying yourself ask yourself why? Is it the people you are working with? Is it the work you are doing? Is it just not what you expected or hoped it would be? Or is just because it is all new and different to you??? Work out what isn’t working for you and then decide how to proceed.
Of course being a volunteer has a great impact on your local community; it allows you to connect more with your local community and help make things better. Volunteering is of course a two-way-street and it can benefit you and your family just as much as it helps the charity or organisation. Giving your time to help out helps you expand your social skills, make new friends and expand your job networking prospects.
A great way to make new friends while strengthening existing relationships is by doing a shared activity – and if you are new to the area it’s a great way to meet new people. You will find it increases your support network, puts you in contact with those who share your interests, and if looking for work, puts you in touch with those in the industry who may be able to help you later on.
If you are an introvert Volunteering can help you meet new people in an atmosphere where you know you can chat to people who share similar interests so it’s a great way to develop and practice your social skills. What better than meeting with a group of people who all like the same thing and soon you’ll find it so much easier to reach out and make new friends and contacts.
If you decide to volunteer as a couple or family this too has many very useful and worthwhile benefits. Your children watch what you do and they learn from you. What better way to show them firsthand what volunteering is all about, and how it can make a difference. It shows them too how good it feels to help others; you get to spend time together as a family, doing a shared interest or activity while giving you all a chance to make a difference.
What does volunteering mean to you? Have you participated as a family in some