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5 Things to Consider before Volunteering

Christine Vihishima

Volunteering is an amazing opportunity to give back to the community selflessly and to gain experience and other important life skills as well. Through volunteering, we build leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and team building skills. We also learn how to selflessly sacrifice time, energy and resources for the benefit of others.

There are many volunteering opportunities that exist in the world and very recently, it seems like you are not part of the “cool” kids if you are not volunteering in one organization/group or the other. However, before jumping at a volunteering opportunity with an organization or group, here are some things to consider before volunteering:

  1. What is your motive for volunteering? – It is important to identify your goal for volunteering because many people go into volunteering so they can just have it in their portfolio that they are volunteering somewhere. Volunteering should be a selfless act done with a motive to SERVE and give back to the community. Check your heart first!
  2. Do the goals, objectives and vision of the organization align with yours? – It is important that the goals, objectives and vision aligns with yours so that you are actually volunteering at an organization/group that carries the same mindset as you. For example, if you are not interested in education or literacy, you will not volunteer very passionately in an organization that is aimed towards that. Get it?
  3. What SDG(s) are you interested in? – The SDGs are the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (you should google this if you are just hearing it for the first time!). Each and every person who is passionate about creating change in their community should be interested in at least one of the SDG Goals. This is same with the organizations too. When you know your SDG(s) of interest, you can then find an organization/group that is also solving the same problems you are passionate about and it will be easier to align yourself with them for change.
  4. How will you bring value to the organization? – This is very important because too often, volunteers join an organization/group and give little or no value to it. This goes back to the fact that their motives were wrong at the beginning. Any organization you are aiming to volunteer with should feel your impact during your time with them through the value you also give as a volunteer. You can do this by utilizing your skills, knowledge and experience to further the work that they do. Don’t just occupy space so you can carry the title of “VOLUNTEER”; strive to give value too. Let your presence be beneficial!
  5. Are you willing to sacrifice TIME, RESOURCES & ENERGY to the organization? – Time, resources and energy are three (3) things that cannot be separated from volunteering. Volunteering is sacrifice back to back and so it is important that before you make a choice to volunteer with an organization or group, you must be ready and willing to make the necessary sacrifices involved. If you are not ready then maybe volunteering is not the best fit for you at this time. Again, check your heart!

If you are able to answer these questions, your volunteering will more deliberate, intentional and impactful.

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