Hi! For you to be here, we can only assume that you have gone through the processes antecedent to becoming a volunteer. Quickly rushing through, this would include deciding areas that interest you, putting down your strong skills, creating a resume, thinking of your availability, and finding a place to work.
Now, you are at this stage where you want to perform but you need a little guidance. We understand that you would want to put in your best effort to be productive enough to effect change.
First, we would like to appreciate your efforts in trying to be better and finding ways to help society in the way that society needs it. So, we are here to help you. Through this little journey, we would take you on the necessary steps you need to make effective volunteering. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
1. Passion: To make for effective volunteering, you must want to do it.
Volunteering involves taking from yourself either in time, kind, or money. Hence, this involves a selfless act.
However, you cannot enjoy a selfless act if it is not something that you want to do. So, you must have passion for this activity you’re about to start.
Furthermore, passion helps you see more clearly how you can effect change in the best possible way. It opens your mind to more efficient ways to do the same things that save resources. It also allows for smoother work and faster processes. Through the above arguments, you can see that passion is the first step in the entire process.
2. Availability: in the preliminary stages, you must have decided on the amount of time you have to give in to this volunteerism. Hence, you have committed a particular time to this activity which you have made known to the volunteer coordinators.
You cannot ordinarily afford to go back on your word and prove unavailable when you are needed. This can, not only slow down work but also prove yourself unaccountable and unreliable. We are sure this isn’t the first impression you want people to know about yourself.
So, always leave open the time you have committed to the volunteer work so that nothing important clashes and you do not have to disappoint people and work.
3. Focus on your work: we are sure you have lots and lots of ideas on how to develop the world running in your mind but, yes there is a but, you must perform in the space that has been given to you. You work in an organization that has given out specific duties and responsibilities to all volunteers, it will only slow down work if you go out of your scope and start doing your own thing. We do not mean that you cannot be innovative in your work, but you must make sure it is within the limits of your work. Although, if you have any ideas that you think would push the impact of what is being done, you can make it known to your supervisor and allow them to decide.
4. Represent yourself and your organization properly: We are sure you do not want a case where a particular country or school stops taking volunteers because of your actions. Yes, it is that serious.
You must remember while doing your work that you are here representing yourself and what you stand for as well as the organizing corporate. Your etiquette should always be intact and morals strong. Remember you are impacting change and we do not think you want to leave “un-walkable” footsteps in your path.
5. Reflect on work done: Having a mindset of efficiency and growth would help you see that you need to evaluate your actions and determine if they were the best ones to take out at those moments or if there are ways to make them better.
Doing this every day would allow you to be more efficient in subsequent actions and work. You can sit back after a day’s work and see what you could have done better, faster, and more efficiently.
This evaluation does not have to be restricted to your actions. You can think of the projects in total and the actions of every other person working with you and determine, in your opinion, better ways these actions could be done.
Arriving at these conclusions, you can communicate them to your volunteer supervisor.
6. Be respectful: As much as this should be in your everyday default, you must be especially careful in a new environment.
Yes, we agree there could be a cultural shock if you are volunteering in a different area or country, but this does not excuse bad behaviour. You cannot spit on their food, their living arrangements, or their ways of life generally.
You can keep your opinions in the safe place of your diary, but when it comes to working, you cannot criticize the culture and ways of life of the people you are trying to help.
This only negates all the work you have done.
7. Dress accordingly: As you would assume, wearing a tank top in the winter seems a bit odd. This would also apply to wearing stilettoes to clean or sweep a compound.
It is not wise to wear or carry things that would limit your productivity unnecessarily.
You can leave your glam clothes and jewellery back home and focus on the task at hand.
It could also a bit distracting to other volunteers which could also limit productivity.
So, in your agenda to represent, you need to think of the others, on how your actions can limit the overall efficiency.
8. Quit the complaints: Now, you may find yourself in areas or places that do not exactly meet up your standard of living. However, this does not excuse constant complaints and nagging about the living situation.
These situations would have ordinarily been passed by you before the trip by the supervisors. So, you cannot make the trip or assignment unbearable for others with your constant complaints since this is a decision you have made.
It is important to see the world outside of your privilege to actively effect change.
9. Spread love and kindness: Yes, we agree you are doing the work, but would it not be better with a smile on your face?
People treat you the way you come off to them. You cannot act like volunteer work is a burden to your person. Everyone around you would read that energy and become uncomfortable.
It will be hard for your supervisors to call you for other projects when they see you with a constant scowl on your face.
So, remember to project kindness and happiness. Give a helping hand here, give a compliment there, and doing it all with a cheerful face.
10. Tell others about your experience: After everything is done, you have to remember that there’s still so much work to be done.
So, telling your friends and family about your fun experience and the change that was impacted in the community might encourage them to also do the same.
Remember, the world needs as much help as it can get so do your part today and share the good news.
We have reached the end of our journey with you and we hope you enjoyed every step. Also, we hope this has helped or will help your journey in the world of volunteerism. Remember to share your experience and let us save the world one step at a time.