There are many incredible volunteering programs out there, with organisations pioneering truly inspirational work and change. Getting involved in a volunteer programme that brings a great sense of purpose and fulfilment is said to boost a person's overall well-being. Therefore, it is important that you choose the correct one for you. Here are our top tips for choosing the right volunteer opportunity for you...
Identify what you are most passionate about
Identify what is your true purpose for volunteering
Pinpoint the skills that can you bring to the volunteering opportunity
Consider how much time you can realistically spend volunteering
Do your research on an organisation - will you be a good fit?
Ask the organisation questions
What are you most passionate about?
Ask yourself, this question. Is there something happening in the world right now in particular that you really want to talk about or research about more in-depth? How do you feel when this topic comes up in conversation, do you feel a burning sensation to help, educate or tell people about it? A great way to identify our passions is to write down how we feel when they come up. For example, if you read an article about young girls being sold as child brides in India, or you hear someone talking about the rate in which humans are destroying the Amazon. Write down how it makes you feel knowing that information. It can become overwhelming and we can start to see the world as a horrible place leading to us wanting to help in every cause. But this is impossible, however, what we can do is identify what we really most feel passionate about making a difference and start there.
What is your true purpose for volunteering?
There are many motivations behind choosing the right volunteering opportunity. Whether it comes from a place of feeling great privilege and wanting to help those who have less than you do; because you want to help others based on your own past experiences or because it will help you forge your future career. It is important to define your goals and expectations. Choose what is most important to you as this will help you identify the cause and the organisation you choose to volunteer for.
What skills can you bring to the volunteering opportunity?
Identify your skills, key work experience and strengths. What do you do in your current job? Can you bring those skills to a volunteer program? What different working experience can you bring to a volunteer opportunity? Maybe you have worked in education, are there volunteer programmes which need someone with a background in education? Do you work in PR, maybe an organisation needs help with that? Are you a great listener? Write everything down, as it will make the search for finding the right volunteer opportunity easier. Guaranteed, whatever skills and experience you have, you will find an organisation looking for someone just like you.
How much time you can realistically spend volunteering?
Work out how much time you can commit to volunteering. Some organisations may be asking for a specific amount of time, making the search easier, but if it is not specified, be open and honest with them about how much time you can dedicate each week and your availability. Consider your location, do you want to volunteer in person or is there a programme that you can do online? You may also be able to find volunteer opportunities for just a few weeks or projects that span over a few months. Just make sure you don't over-commit and remember to carve out time for yourself too.
Research the organisation - will you fit in well?
It is important that when searching for an organisation to volunteer with that you research their mission, values and goals. Do they align with yours? Are they working on something that you truly believe in and you feel you could help them make a difference? Define what characteristics you are looking for in an organisation and go from there.
Ask questions to find out more...
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what is required and expected of you. Speak to other people who are involved with the organisation, what are their experiences? This will give you a deeper insight as to how the culture or the organisation which you can use to identify if you will be a good fit or not.
Many organisations that work primarily with volunteers are often looking for new people to help them with their mission. If you find a cause that resonates with you, don't be afraid to apply. You might just be the exact person they are looking for.
At Women Going Beyond, our goal is to empower young women in rural areas of south-east Asia by giving them professional development skills so they can find employment. Many young girls in poor rural areas never receive a proper education. Therefore, they have little chance of getting a paid job and can never break the poverty cycle they were born into. Without education, their futures are bleak and often dangerous.
Women Going Beyond is an NGO and we are always looking for new volunteers to help us. I four mission seems like something that resonates with you, we would love to have you on board. Volunteer with us today and see where you can help bring about change to this part of the world.