What I’ve learned from volunteering

Photo by Matthias Zomer from Pexels
Photo by Pixabay
  • You have to have a purpose and a reason to volunteer your time — it’s important to find something you’re passionate about, that resonates with you and that you feel committed to.
  • People can be hard work — you need to stay true to what you’re doing and why, to enable you to push through the sometimes challenging situations you might face.
  • Understand the bigger picture — you won’t always feel like you’re making a difference but by being passionate about what you’re doing and being able to look at the bigger picture will help.
  • It’s OK to feel nervous — volunteering and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be scary. I’m terrible at doing things on my own for the first time (I struggle to go to a gym class on my own!) and so to pick up the phone and start a conversation with someone I didn’t know and couldn’t see, was really scary for me. But I did it because I was committed to helping someone else and as a result, it helped me too!
  • Persevere — you will get so much back from giving to somebody else.
  • Start small — don’t jump in by committing to lots of things. For me, phone calls were the best way for me to start as I felt I could handle that and not get overwhelmed. Start small to build your confidence and then go for it!
  • Get feedback & learn — check you’re on the right track and learn where to improve by getting regular feedback. This will help you focus and grow.
  • Know what you’re signing up for — be clear about what you’re agreeing to and ask questions. Do you agree with their mission?
  • Training — make sure you feel you’re provided with the right tools to be successful. Most charities will insist on training before you start so be prepared for this.
  • Time — make sure you’re clear on the commitment of your time. Your time is so precious and you need to make sure you’re using it in a way that you’re happy with.
  • Don’t overcommit — don’t say yes because you think it’s the right thing to do. It’s better to be upfront and honest rather than let someone down.
  • A little goes a long way — recognise that anything you can do is amazing and will make a difference…even 30 minutes a week!
  • Feeling safe — organisations/charities have an obligation to look after and protect not only the vulnerable people they’re supporting, but also their volunteers. Do your research and make sure they have your interests at heart as well.
  • This should benefit you too — you’re doing an amazing thing to give up your time for someone else, so take a step back and feel good about yourself and what you’re doing
  • Don’t let hard days get you down — sometimes things don’t go to plan, but just remember to take a step back and think of the bigger picture and why you’re doing what you’re doing — and keep going
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

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