The Beginner’s Guide To Volunteering

It’s summer, the sun is shining. Perhaps you’ve just got back from a holiday and are thinking about what life could be like if you weren’t tied down to your current job — time to learn some new skills?

Maybe you’re motivated by the political landscape, and daily dose of depressing news to try to make a change in your community.

Or perhaps you’ve just got a few spare hours a week and are wondering what you should do with them.

Wherever you’re at, now’s as good a time as any to dip your toe into the wonderful, rewarding world of volunteering.

What is it?

Volunteering is when you give up your time to help others, without being paid for it.

There are lots of different types of organizations you can volunteer for, from charities and schools to hospitals and businesses.

The types of things you can help out with might surprise you: different places need help with all sorts of different things.

Working on a helpline, stuffing envelopes, looking after animals at a rescue centre, and befriending vulnerable people are just a few examples of what you could get up to.


Why do it?

There are lots of reason to volunteer.

If you’re returning to work after a period away, it’s a great way to boost your confidence and ease your way back in gradually.

If you’re already in work but fancy a career change, volunteering can teach you new skills and even provide you with a different perspective on what you want to do.

70% of employers say they would hire someone who has volunteered over someone who hasn’t, all other things being equal.

It’s also a brilliant way to make friends and get to know how the local community works if you’ve just moved to a new area.


How do I go about it?

First, ask yourself if there are any particular areas that you are interested in.

Do you want to work with older people?

Perhaps you are passionate about equality issues?

Once you know this you can narrow down your search.

Next, think about what skills you have and how they might help an organization.

Are you a great listener?

Do you have awesome admin skills?

Thinking about what you could bring to a team is useful, but perhaps you’d like to learn new skills.

If so what do you want to learn?

Once you’ve clarified this a bit, do a quick Internet search.

There might be a volunteer hub in your area that can help place you with an organization.

Alternatively, go the website of a place you’re interested in and have a look to see if they have a volunteer page.

If not, email the office or give them a call and ask if there are any opportunities coming up.

Happy volunteering!


Not got the time or not able to volunteer?

There are lots of ways you can still make the world a better place.

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