The impacts of Covid-19 has shown the true colours of humanity and displayed the amount of impact and change we can make when we come together. From food banks to soup kitchens and helping vulnerable families at risk, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people helping out their local communities.
However, being in several lockdowns, the global pandemic has also shown us how volunteering does not need to be limited to your local regions. With the power online video calls and communication platforms, we are able to support causes that are close to our hearts from all across the world. We as a small social enterprise was connected to several mentors and skilled volunteers from all across the world throughout the past two years (a lot of it through We Make Change - big shout out to their amazing team!) who kindly donated their time to help us in different areas of our business.
The benefits of volunteering are endless. Not only are you helping another individual but you are also helping yourself by being a part of a community, often making new friends, learning new skills and improving your self worth.
So are you ready to volunteer? For those who are wanting to volunteer, we've put together some tips for you to find the right opportunities for yourself to ensure that you get the most out of your experience:
1. Ask yourself, how much time can you give?
- Be realistic with this one. Consider how much time you have available to contribute because this will help narrow down what kind of volunteering roles you should look for. For example, if you have an hour or two a week to spare, then you could consider working at a soup kitchen. However, if it's more like 30 mins or so a day, you could consider remote volunteering instead of a physical one.
2. What causes do you care about?
- Reflect on what social causes are close to your heart, whether it's something like helping the elderly, homelessness, animals, young people and more.
3. Find out what your strengths are and what you have to offer.
- Are you good around lots of people? Do you have a particular skill that you could use to help someone?
- Now that you have a better understanding of what you can offer, it's time to research the opportunities available out there. The most well known platform in the UK to look for vacancies is through the NCVO, who represents thousands of charities across the UK and offers a lot of resources to finding different roles.
- If you are looking for skill-based volunteering - in other words, using your professional skills to help other enterprises and charities, you can look at organisations like Reach Volunteering and of course We Make Change.
- Don't hesitate to search in Google or social media about charities and organisations that are supporting the causes that you care about. If you already have a charity in mind, check on their website to see if they are welcoming any volunteers. Alternatively, you can just message or email them to enquire - the worst they can say is "no"!
- You could also reach into your friends and family's network to see if anyone is already volunteering with any organisations that may be of interest to you.
5. Don't be afraid to ask the organisation more questions
- Once you've found a potential volunteering role that you like, make sure to ask any burning questions you may have before the actual volunteering begins to make sure that you are well informed of what you are getting yourself into.
6. Enjoy the process and maintain good communication
- The best part about volunteering often is being able to see the impact you make. This will only be optimised if you yourself are enjoying the process and also maintaining an effective communication with the organisation you are supporting so that you build a good relationship with them as well as stay well informed about the positive differences you have made with your time and efforts.
We hope this will help you prepare for your next volunteering adventure. No matter what causes you care about, there will always be one opportunity or another that is right for you. It may take a bit of time to find what works but we promise the efforts will be all worth it!
If you are an organisation looking for volunteers, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with more information on your opportunities and we willl share it amongst our community!