Guide to Volunteering

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WHY START…

When you volunteer, not only are you meeting new people, keeping active and involved in the community, but crucially you’re doing something that needs doing and making lots of people’s lives easier in the process. And that feels good. See Top Tips below.

SUMMARY

Different people choose to volunteer for different reasons. For most people, the opportunity to do something useful for somebody else or to give back to the community is a large part of the attraction. For others it’s a way to learn or develop new skills or talents, or to build on existing knowledge and experience whilst simultaneously doing something good.
Volunteering is also a great way to get involved with an issue or a cause. Many of the important things in this world — things that truly matter such as fighting disease, environmental destruction and tyranny, or helping people who need help — all these things are underfunded and tend to rely on volunteers at some level. So, volunteering is a great way to work for causes you really care about. If any pastime can actually be described as important, then volunteering is it.
There is an infinite number of ways to volunteer. Some of the most common include: working for a charity; helping at a sporting event; becoming a Samaritan; working on an organic farm. In today’s digital world you can even get involved in online volunteering. There are numerous good causes that need people who can help online. This might be proofreading and editing documents, carrying out research, providing translation services, basically anything you can do with the aid of an internet connection. Organisations are increasingly looking for volunteers who can carry out activities online and it gives you the opportunity to get involved in important world challenges by just being able to access a computer.

Why Start?

Volunteering is just about the best thing you can do with your time, because helping other people is fundamental to what makes us tick. It helps you to give something back, develop new skills, experience and knowledge. And of course, helping people is very rewarding. It makes them feel good. It makes you feel good. It’s what human beings were born to do.

Who is it for?

Anyone can volunteer. As it’s such a broad category, you can be sure to find a volunteering activity that’s right for you. All you need is the desire to help and you’re ready to dive in.

Are there any prerequisites?

It depends on the volunteering activity you choose. If you’re doing something physical, such as gardening or helping people with physical disabilities you’ll need to be in decent shape, but otherwise you’re good to go.

What are the benefits?

Aside from the fact that you’re out and about meeting people, you reap the enormous benefits afforded by being compassionate and helping others. Volunteering will offer you new experiences, develop your skills, build your self-esteem and, above all, make a difference to other people’s lives.

 

How much will it cost?

Generally, nothing. You’re helping people and unless you’re doing so in an exotic location there shouldn’t be any costs involved. On the contrary, most organisations that use volunteers will happily cover your expenses and meals while you volunteer.

Can I take it to another level?

Generally speaking, there are no limits to how much you can help. If you enjoy it, volunteering can certainly become a full-time job. From there you might want to start helping to train other volunteers.

What Equipment do I need?

Some voluntary positions will require special equipment but that will always be provided for you. You don’t need to worry about kitting yourself out. All you need is to be willing.

Where can I take part?

If you want to volunteer locally there will be plenty of opportunities to do so. If you want to travel to volunteer you can do that too. There are basically volunteering opportunities all over the world.

Top Tips

* Check out the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (the NCVO): https://www.ncvo.org.uk/ They have all the information about volunteering in the UK.

 

* Find out what voluntary positions are available in your area: https://do-it.org/opportunities/search?miles=10&lat=54.9068&lng=-1.3856&location=SR1%203DY&sort=distance&order=asc&page=1

 

* If you’re interested in volunteering online, have a look here: https://www.onlinevolunteering.org/en

 

* Here is another page of helpful tips and links: http://www.thebigproject.co.uk/links_charities.htm

 

* Also, the first week in June is Volunteers’ Week, which might be a great place to start: http://volunteersweek.org/

 

* If you’d like to get out in the open air, you might like to volunteer on an organic farm: http://www.wwoof.org.uk/

 

Facts & Stats

An estimated 14.2 million people in the UK volunteer at least once a month.

* The most recent figures show the average amount of time that regular volunteers spend volunteering per month is 11.6 hours. But you can do as much or as little as you like.

* In 2014/15, 59% of all adults reported that they had taken part in informal volunteering work at least once in the previous year and 34% had done so at least once every month.

Source: https://data.ncvo.org.uk/a/almanac16/volunteer-overview/

Did you know…

* According to UK Fundraising, women are more likely to become volunteers than men.

* Although a popular activity with both the young and the old, volunteering does tend to be more popular with people over 50. So, it’s not really a case of being not too old to volunteer, more a case of finally being old enough!

NOTTOT RELATED LINKS…

How to get started
Links to related information

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