- What is volunteering?
- What types of volunteering are there?
- What are the benefits of volunteering?
- Personal and professional development
- Community enhancement
- Networking opportunities
- Life and learning experience
- How to find volunteer opportunities?
- Tips for Successful Volunteering
- Effective communication
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Positive attitude
- Accountability and Commitment
- Why is volunteering important?
Roberto Isaías explains what volunteering is, what its benefits are and why it is important for society.
What is volunteering?
It is the action of rendering a service for a cause that supports society, without receiving a salary for it.
It’s fundamental principle is solidarity and can be directed to all those who need help.
The service provided by a volunteer is done spontaneously, without obligation and without remuneration.
It is a matter of making one’s skills, even the simplest, available to those who need them.
It is a helping activity that anyone can do, either on their own or in the company of an association.
What types of volunteering are there?
There are multiple non-profit institutions where volunteering can be done.
Those responsible for organizing, donating and supporting can be companies, NGOs, governments and citizen initiatives.
According to this, they can be classified as follows:
Volunteering in non-profit organizations.
In this type of volunteering, a person contributes his or her labor freely and without payment to a non-profit organization.
The volunteer dedicates part of his or her time, talent, skills, abilities and knowledge to support the tasks performed by the organization.
The organization benefits as it obtains new ideas, projects and even economic resources.
OXFAM Intermón offers the following concept of corporate volunteering:
“It intends that the employees, actions and time of a company are used to promote the development of local communities or disadvantaged groups. This serves to involve employees in the mission defined by the company and thus achieve joint cooperation”.OXFAM
An increasing number of companies are taking up this initiative.
Volunteering at the community level
This type of volunteering promotes civic, neighborhood, collective and citizen participation movements for the development and cohesion of the community.
By participating in projects you can have an impact on your own community through educational, leisure and free time, recreational, sports, cultural, etc. activities.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
For Roberto Isaías, the most outstanding benefits of volunteer work include:
- Improved quality of life for beneficiaries;
- Strengthening ties between communities;
- Conserving the environment, protecting species;
- Promoting commitment to society.
Personal and professional development
Participating in volunteer activities allows you to acquire new skills and important interpersonal competencies.
It helps you develop empathy, flexibility and the ability to work in a team.
Volunteering, therefore, can boost your career.
It is no coincidence that LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, offers users the possibility to include the “Volunteering” field in their profile, as if it were an element that enriches professional identity.
Volunteer associations play a fundamental role in the social and community fabric.
In the various fields in which they operate, they fill certain structural gaps in our societies, intervene to even out inequalities and bring comfort and concrete help to those who need it most.
Some of the issues to be addressed within the Volunteers are poverty, the environment, people’s rights, animal protection, among others. Volunteers dedicate time and resources to the good of the community.
There are numerous volunteer associations. From the best known and largest, active on a national and international scale, to the smaller, but equally significant, that operate on a local level.
The European Graduate Center, defines networking as:
“A practice that is based on establishing a network of professional contacts, in which it is intended to generate job or business opportunities”.CEUPE
Volunteering is a great opportunity because it allows you to expand your social network.
It helps you make new friends and get in touch with people who share your interests.
Life and learning experience
Volunteering is an excellent way to increase your level of personal satisfaction.
Seeing the positive impact your work can have on others boosts your self-esteem and makes you feel useful and, above all, happy!
It makes you discover new interests and provides you with new stimuli.
Dedicating your time to volunteering helps you to broaden your horizons and discover new points of view.
It also allows you to test yourself, perhaps with an activity that had never occurred to you before.
Plus, it’s one of the best ways to feel part of a team, even if everyone has their own tasks to perform.
How to find volunteer opportunities?
The first thing to do is to evaluate well before choosing an organization so you can find the right one for you. This is based on your characteristics and capabilities.
You can explore different sectors, such as cultural, social, environmental or recreational.
You should also keep in mind that useful professional figures vary greatly depending on the sector and the objective of the organization.
Once you have clarified these points, you are ready to look for a quality volunteer opportunity.
Searching online is one of the easiest ways to find volunteer opportunities, especially if you want to volunteer abroad.
You will find programs offered by private organizations on the web, but be aware that some can be very expensive.
You should make sure they are reliable. There are hundreds of websites of organizations that no longer exist or do not carry out their stated activities.
Here are some organizations with good opportunities that you can find on the web:
Contact local organizations
This is the closest way to get started as a volunteer.
Most local projects are small, and it is in these organizations that volunteering is most needed.
Civil society organizations tend to be open to support, as they do not have the same funding as many NGOs.
With these volunteer programs, you not only live an experience of personal growth, but you also.
University volunteer programs
These are programs carried out by university students whose purpose is to work with solidarity, offering their academic and productive knowledge for the development of society.
This is undertaken voluntarily with ethical and professional principles. In addition, they seek to promote sensitivity and social responsibility in students.
It is an experience of short, medium or long duration in a foreign country within the framework of mutual and humanitarian aid.
International volunteering can take place anywhere in the world, but the most common destinations are Africa, Latin America and Asia.
The topics of interest are varied, but among the most common are teaching, protection of human rights, take care for the environment and animal welfare.
It represents a concrete opportunity to grow in human and professional terms thanks to the acquisition of numerous soft skills that are increasingly important in today’s world of work.
Tips for Successful Volunteering
The key to success is to do it with a vocation and choose a volunteer opportunity that fits you.
“Volunteering can be an unforgettable and rewarding experience, but with the plethora of offers available it is important to choose wisely. The quality of your experience will determine how much you can benefit from this fantastic human adventure.”EU
Communicating effectively means expressing yourself to the best of your ability and building satisfying relationships in which you share needs, values and goals.
When you are a volunteer, you can improve communication, it allows you to listen actively, respect the rights of all and enriches you internally.
Flexibility and adaptability
The ability to adapt and flexibility when facing new circumstances or unforeseen events are indispensable skills for a volunteer.
It is important to keep an open mind and be able to demonstrate that you can integrate into a different community and get the best out of the experience.
Having a positive attitude means being able to look at things from the right side.
It’s about trying to maintain a mental focus that keeps negative thoughts from taking over our days.
Working to maintain a positive mental attitude is basic to achieving happiness and success in volunteering.
Accountability and Commitment
When we take responsibility for our actions, observing and accepting them, we open ourselves to the possibility of acting effectively.
We adapt quickly to the challenges that come our way and overcome the internal and external obstacles that arise.
By reminding ourselves that the actions we choose to take are within our control, we can engage in value-driven behavior.
Why is volunteering important?
It is important because it inspires others and drives the transformation required to end inequality.
Volunteer activities enable people to empathize with local realities and help communities grow sustainably.
In the previous article, the philanthropist Roberto Isaías, explains in depth what volunteering is.
From the text we can conclude the following:
- Volunteering consists of supporting a social cause, without receiving a salary for it;
- Its fundamental principle is solidarity and can be directed to all those who need help;
- It provides the volunteer with a life and learning experience, while supporting his or her personal and professional development;
- The key to success is effective communication, adaptability and maintaining a positive attitude.