There is a good chance that at some point in your life you will undertake some kind of volunteer work whether it be in your local community, with a national organisation or even internationally. In Australia data shows that 36.2% of people aged over 18 were involved in formal volunteering, or about 6.1 million people, and in 20% provided what is known as informal volunteering (care of a person or people in the same household.
From foodbanks and helplines to international aid and sporting fixtures the diversity of volunteerism is immense.
When it comes to those over the age of sixty five the number of people engaged in volunteering is significantly high. In actual fact many people in the older age category get into the swing of volunteering to remain both socially and mentally active – for some its indeed a second career post retirement.
So how do you choose where to spend or invest your time as a volunteer and what do you need to know now to ensure you’ve chosen the right thing? Here are my four simple life hacks:
Identify something you are passionate about
The simplest thing of all is to align your time with something you are really passionate about and where you think you can make the most impact. People who align with passion also create purpose that can be powerful when giving to a community based organisation or charity. You are more likely to be more engaged, committed and to spend the time needed to get the job done.
Know what you can give
Be careful not to over commit the amount of time you can give – if you are still in full time work be careful to limit your hours of involvement that mean you won’t create pressure for yourself and your day job. If you are in part time work or recently retired plan the number of hours so you can either be on the look-out for additional paid hours or that your volunteer role doesn’t necessarily become something of a full time job. To be frank, commit only the number of hours you can afford or can do – be over committing you may not, in the end, be helping out either the cause or the group if you can’t deliver.
Know what you would like to get out of it
Like any role you need to make sure you get something out of it – I call it the mutual benefit exchange. When it comes to volunteering it is very much about the “happiness” factor – that you feel you have made or are making a contribution that is impactful and meaningful. If you are going into volunteering so it looks good on your resume or you want it to lead to some sort of recognition then you should look elsewhere.
Know the right organisation to connect with
Select an organisation that matches your passion and has roles available to meet what you are looking for and where your skill set best lies. Bringing skills to the table can be of immense benefit because it could be that an organisation could very well slot you into a pre-existing role.
Matthew Tukaki is the Host of Talking Lifestyle Second Career on the Talking Lifestyle Radio Network across Australia and the Editor in Chief of NewsNow / EntreHub
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