In a world plagued by terrorism, hate culture, and the devastation of natural resources, lending oneself for the betterment of society seems to be an inherent response–and a good one. Philanthropy is undoubtedly the most meaningful way to rebuild and improve communities and becoming a volunteer will more often than not be beneficial to both giver and receiver. However, it takes a lot to be a successful participant.
Understanding why you want to volunteer is crucial. Some are passionate for a particular cause; perhaps battling poverty, environmentalism, assisting the disabled, or nurturing the abused. Others are motivated by personal reasons; whether it is to be removed from daily life or align oneself to a certain principle. Whatever the case, choosing to volunteer should not be an obligation but rather, a selfless desire.
Choosing where to volunteer is key. Picking out an organization to collaborate with is similar to matchmaking. The process involves seeking a group that is perfectly suited to your skills and interests. Can’t get enough of all things cute and fluffy? Join an animal welfare group! Want to see the world in a new perspective? Try going environmental.
Once you have chosen an agency, know how you can personally contribute value and measure your strengths. Be vocal about what services you can provide. Your productivity will depend on where you can be most useful–whether in administrative work or something more hands-on.
There are certain qualities a volunteer must always uphold. One should be flexible, and we’re not talking about the splits. Allow yourself to be elastic in terms of time and responsibilities. In the world of volunteering, carefully crafted plans are often subject to unraveling. Situations that involve a lack of resources or manpower may demand extra work. Volunteers with a strong sense of adaptability and focus are an organization’s most valuable assets.
Characteristically, volunteers should also be creative and energetic. Imagination can easily fuel one’s vigor and enthusiasm. An organization will not always meet its quota of goods and materials–being innovative will allow a group to consider alternative plans. This will also require energy. Volunteers often have to work long hours on tedious tasks. Being active and spirited may also encourage others to uphold integrity. There is no room for the dull and tired!
Lastly, volunteers must be open-minded and committed. Working with people of varying backgrounds and, more importantly, with those who are marginalized, entails being unbiased and without judgment. If volunteers are frank and honest, they will ultimately be accepting others as part of their own lives. Volunteering is not just about breaking the status quo–it is about realizing our own realities and where we fit into society. The volunteering experience, of course, is more significant when one is fully dedicated to the cause at hand. Commitment also gives the volunteer a true sense of immersion. Don’t slack off!
There is no denying that volunteering isn’t glamorous. More often than not, exposure to the hardships of our community is difficult to comprehend, much less accept. But there is time to learn. If there is one thing that volunteering teaches us, it is that time is valuable and should not be wasted.
Much can be accomplished in our world today, given that we are willing to make the sacrifice.