Yep, I pretty much have said what I wanted to say…”say no to volunteering!”
You might be wondering why I’m saying this, and what’s brought this on, and I’ll tell you why…
I LOVE VOLUNTEERING!!!
I think that’s pretty obvious knowing this blog is called, John’s Road to Volunteering. Volunteering might be in the title, as that’s how my journey started and the moment I gave back to the community, my life changed. Life doesn’t change though, when there’s so much more needing to be done in a volunteer’s experience/journey, and the way charities go about this is currently lacking.
Applying for roles pretty much every few days to ensure I’m constantly giving back in some form, helping new people along the way, yet I don’t have an announcement? I haven’t tweeted about “this” charity being involved in my JRTV100 project or the amazing time I’ve had helping “xyz”, and that’s because I believe charities have lost their passion for volunteering.
The passion I felt when I first started was the reason I got involved. Getting involved has lead me to supporting charities of all sizes, promoting small charities in Africa, and telling my story wherever I can.
Problem is… we’re not keeping up with the times!! This is why I’m disengaged when supporting charities. I’ve turned down 60 charities already this year (probably more) to be part of my JRTV100 project, as I don’t feel comfortable working in the past. I don’t feel comfortable telling a charity that I want to meet before filling in an application, and I certainly don’t feel comfortable having to put my employment history and a personal statement on a piece of paper, just to be screened!
I AM NOT AN EMPLOYEE!!
Understand that if you’re a volunteer wanting to give back, do it in a way you feel comfortable with. Do it in a way you feel valued and you’re engaged from the moment you apply to the moment you leave.
If you’re a charity wanting to recruit new volunteers, remember we’re human. We have feelings when it comes to the smallest things in life, and if you’re asking us to take an hour plus to fill in our entire employment history, to basically show a lack of understanding at the newest trends in volunteering, then we won’t give back.
People want to give their time to causes they know will respect what they do and their motivations for wanting to get involved. I’ve been part of charities, who ask for the simplest form to be filled out and a few days later, I give my first few hours. THAT IS THE TREND!!
The trend is understanding people don’t have a lot of time anymore to give back to charities, and people don’t have loads of time to fill in an application form to then be turned down, because they don’t have requirements for the role.
There’s untapped potential out there, and if you’re putting barriers up, the potential won’t assist with creating future programmes for your charity and volunteers and you’ll question why you haven’t progressed in the future.
That’s where I focus. I don’t think about the past or the present, but the future. Plan now to retain your volunteers and plan now to get ahead of the game.
Why are charities still behind on social media? Why are there no internal training programmes on how charities represent volunteers and vice versa? Where’s the understanding that social media is the best tool to recruit volunteers, to recognise volunteers and to share ones story.
People respond to other people. People don’t respond to money.
Money is needed for any charitable growth, but without the supporters there’s no funds. Focus on the people, and the response you want will be delivered.
I don’t know where this post was going, but I sort of wanted to update you on my current thoughts on volunteering. There’s a lot more we need to do as a sector and it needs to be done together. The only way we’ll move forward and progress is together. We need to think together. We need to act together. We need to move forward together.