I like looking at volunteering as a journey. From the moment we think about looking for our first role to the first email response inviting you in for a 1-2-1 meeting, volunteering has shown me that what might be a perception about giving your time to someone, can turn into something magical and change your future like never imagined.
When I saw today’s topic was chosen by you guys, I was excited. I always love talking about volunteering and specifically starting out. I think the fact I never intended on volunteering for longer than a month to start with, really shows the true value of seeing your time impacting others.
If I recall back to December 3rd 2012 (the day I started volunteering), I remember the anxious feeling of ‘Is this really for me?’. What am I doing? Why did I sign up to this?
I was entering an unknown territory with no back-up. What if I didn’t like what I signed up to? What would I do? I had nothing else going for me.
It then became apparent that when you look into volunteering, find something you want to do. Don’t sign up to anything for the sake of it! You might not know what your passions are at the time of filling in your details (I certainly didn’t!), but knowing what you want will give your volunteering more of a purpose.
Before you even look for a role, you have to start with basics, so this is when I introduce to you;
W – What? What roles are you looking for?
O – Remember every opportunity is an opportunity
W – Where? Do you know how far you’re willing to travel? Do you have access to transport? Can you walk there?
H – How? How are you going to volunteer? Do you know how long charities will ask you to volunteer? Are there flexible roles, such as, events?
O – Every volunteering opportunity is an opening to a new adventure.
W – When? When are you available? Do you need a crèche to accommodate young children? Do you have other commitments like work to think about?
W – Why? Why do you want to volunteer? Why does that charity stand out to you?
I know ‘WOW HOWW’ isn’t attractive, nor the greatest acronym, but it does the job!
Some people think that you can go straight in and volunteer, but then later drop out. Why? ‘WOW HOWW’ wasn’t considered before starting.
Before you sign up, make sure you know what you want, and if you don’t head to your local volunteer centre. Many volunteer centre’s run drop-in sessions to help you find the role for you. I know, as I used to run a few.
Unsure about the above? Speak to someone. If you don’t have the time to go along to your volunteer centre, I’m always here to help.