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5 Things to Consider Before You Volunteer
Posted 3 Dec 2019
Volunteering can be a fulfilling experience, helping you to feel good about yourself and improving your self-confidence and self-esteem.
It can even enhance your – and others – mental health!
However, before you commit to a volunteering role, here’s five things to consider before you start.
What you want to do?
Firstly, what do you really want to do?
Volunteering works best for everyone when you are giving the best of you and working to your strengths. If you are doing something you want to do AND are good at, you will be happy, do a better job make more of a difference and impact those around you in a positive way!
How much time can you give?
When you start volunteering, it’s easy to throw yourself into the role or project. Doing something meaningful for a cause you’re passionate about – it can quickly encompass a lot of your time and energy. Even with the best intentions, this can sometimes lead to burnout from juggling too many balls!
Before you take the volunteering plunge, think about how much time and energy you can give on top of what you are already doing. How much time do you really have after considering your other commitments such as work, study, family, socialising, hobbies, exercise, down time. etc.
In the end, it all comes down to being realistic, as well as honest with yourself and the volunteer organisation.
It’s important to consider where you would like to volunteer. For instance, if you need to travel for your volunteering role, will it be one location, will you need to drive all over the place, and is the location accessible. And then there’s how far you have to travel. If it’s say an hour away, you will need to add this to your time and financial commitment i.e. petrol, wear and tear on the car, etc. It can really add up.
Alternatively, look into volunteering online. Dependent on your skill set, you could help with grant writing, graphic design, IT, HR or PR!
Is the organisation the right fit for you? Remember, you are giving your time and energy for free and you want to actually want to be there! You don’t want to spend your time embroiled in political turmoil.
Things to consider are the size of the organisation, the overall culture of the place, as well as the roles available, the support structure, the maturity of the organisation and its processes, its diversity, the politics, and so on.
Try before you buy
Another way to check if the organisation is the right fit for you is to ‘try before you buy’ (and vice versa). More often than not, you can approach an organisation to meet the team, to sit in on a meeting or to put in a few hours BEFORE you commit.
By considering the above points, you’ll ensure that your volunteering experience will be the best it can be for everyone involved.
For more tips on volunteering, and to find a volunteering opportunity perfect for you, check out Volunteering WA.