An edited version of this post was published on the More to Life Than Shoes website in March 2011. More to Life Than Shoes is a network for women, with monthly meetups. For more details, visit www.moretolifethanshoes.com
I’ve been volunteering for charity for over 7 years in a variety of different ways, and during that time I’ve met some really inspiring people. I’ve also added many extra skills to my repertoire.
My first experience of being a volunteer was when I joined an organisation called Rotaract, for 18 to 30 year olds, which supports local, national and international charities by fundraising and providing ad hoc practical support (e.g. gardening, painting). I’ve also taken lots of other opportunities to volunteer – marshalling or handing out goodie bags at running events, taking part in sponsored events, helping to organise fundraising events to name just a few.
In the course of these activities, I have learned how to chair meetings, work with a wide variety of people, come up with ideas that would raise money, and helped to plan events of varying sizes. Additionally, volunteering has widened my knowledge about some of the issues in our society. Above all, being a volunteer is fun and sociable – getting involved with a charity on a regular basis means that you meet the same people and build up new friendships, helping out on a one-off basis gives you the satisfaction of helping to raise money or ensure that an event runs smoothly.
Volunteering for a charity doesn’t have to take up much time. It can be as small as helping an organisation run their Facebook group, putting up posters for an event, helping them at a Saturday or Sunday event every now and then, doing research for them on local venues for fundraising events…. Whatever skill you have, there’s bound to be a charity or a service organisation (Rotary, Rotaract, Lions etc) that could benefit from it!