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Post | July 2020 | For volunteers | 2 min read

Getting the most out of volunteering

Written by Susi Calder

You’re donating your valuable time, you want to get the most out of it, so it’s important that you enjoy and benefit from your volunteering. To make sure that your volunteer position is a good fit:

  • What causes do you care about? You will get the most out of volunteering if you're doing something towards a cause you care about and know that you're having an impact.
  • Think about what interests or excites you. This could be something you enjoyed doing before, or something completely new.
  • Think about what time or skills you can give. With so many opportunities to choose from, it's a great idea to narrow down the choices by deciding what you're willing to give.
  • Get researching!
  • Ask questions. You want to make sure that the experience is right for your goals, your skills, and the time you want to spend. Sample questions for your volunteer coordinator might address your time commitment, if there’s any training involved, who you will be working with, and what to do if you have questions during your experience.
  • Make sure you know what’s expected. You should be comfortable with the organisation and understand the time and travel commitment. Consider starting small so that you don’t over commit yourself at first. Give yourself some flexibility to change your focus if needed. 
  • Don’t be afraid to make a change. Don’t force yourself into a bad fit or feel compelled to stick with a volunteer role you dislike. Talk to the organisation about changing your focus or look for a different organisation that’s a better fit.
  • Enjoy yourself. The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organisation. If you’re not enjoying yourself, ask yourself why. Is it the tasks you’re performing? The people you’re working with? Or are you uncomfortable simply because the situation is new and unfamiliar? Pinpointing what’s bothering you can help you decide what to do next.
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