Our Director of Stakeholder & Community Development in Australia shares her observations on finding a volunteer experience aligned to either your skills and/or passion.
My first volunteering experience (not including the Brownies and Girl Guides) involved cleaning the premises of a respected charity which helps families in need. My second volunteering experience involved moving merchandise around a warehouse in preparation for a Christmas event hosted by a children's charity. While I knew both experiences were helping these wonderful charities, they left me feeling uninspired about volunteering on a regular basis.
It finally dawned on me, thanks to my career, I have plenty of skills which charities need. Maybe I could leverage and offer those skills to charities instead of manual labour? Guess what? I was right. Now I can find plenty of short-term writing or social media roles that allow me to volunteer around full time work. I love the flexibility of contributing in a meaningfully way, when I can. What’s more, thanks to the digital age, I can volunteer remotely for all sorts of wonderful organisations from regional community groups in outback Australia to animal rescue centres in my own municipality.
One of my team members felt the same about volunteering. Only, for him, it wasn't so much about 'what' he was doing but 'who' he was volunteering for. When he stumbled upon the facilities, events and resources The Pride Centre in St Kilda (Australia) offers the LGBTQI+ community, his interest piqued. He likens walking into The Pride Centre to a religious experience. He is so energised by the people and programs - he's more than happy to welcome visitors at reception or pull beers behind the bar at rooftop events. For him, it’s about belonging and participating in what the Centre means to him and to the Community.
Volunteering is all about finding your tribe or doing something you enjoy. If you experience resistance to lending a hand within YOUR community - perhaps ask yourself, 'what's going to make my heart sing?' and go find it on Be Collective!