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Charity, Not-for-profit & NGO careers

Volunteering

Why volunteer?

Winston Churchill once said that “we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Basically, it’s important to give a little back to society. It’s good for your soul.

Volunteering can be a wonderful thing to do. It’s a great way to network, meet new people, get experience, add to your CV and can be a stepping-stone to your eventual career path. Most importantly, it’s a great way to help people less fortunate than yourself.

What’s more, it doesn’t necessarily mean picking up crisp packets in your local park in the pouring rain, whilst fending off taunts from the local scallies. The options are endless these days!

What are my volunteering options?

Depending on what sort of volunteer work you want to get in to, it’s safe to say that your options are pretty extensive.

You could do all kinds of things, from community volunteering, to environmental conservation volunteer work. The world is your volunteering oyster. You won’t need any specific qualifications or experience! Whatever you choose to do, all you need is the drive and free time to help out a little.

You could volunteer at a local home for older people; you can “get down with the kids” and do some volunteer youth work; you could even give up a day of your weekend to help preserve some city gardens.

Alternatively, you could act as a mentor for vulnerable people with social problems or learning difficulties.

Every kind of volunteering you get into will give you immense satisfaction in knowing that you have helped somebody else and really made a difference. Showing this caring and utterly selfless side to your character will also be a great attraction to any future employers. Immediately, you’ll come across as a team player and someone who’s not afraid to muck in where necessary.

Why is volunteer work useful?

No one likes to admit it, but volunteer work is also about helping yourself and thinking of your future.

Employers are always impressed with people who have done volunteer work in any shape or form. If it relates to your line of work, that’s even better!

Volunteer work can also lead to eventual full-time positions. If you work for a charity and they like what they see, they could always offer you a permanent role as a volunteer-coordinator, where you’d be in charge of all the volunteers. Alternatively, you could move in to a marketing role, where you’d be responsible for promoting the charity and increasing awareness.

If you’re keen to travel, volunteering can be an excellent way to get the most out of the experience and immerse yourself in another culture.

Thousands and thousands of students travel in their year abroad, but employers are looking for people who use their time wisely.

If you spend your summer teaching English to school children in Mozambique, not only will you be changing the lives of those you teach, but you’ll be showing initiative and drive to any future recruiters. It’ll certainly put you head and shoulders above the people who spent their summer getting drunk and painting their faces in Thailand.

If you know what field of work you want to go into after university, then it’s a good idea to try and hone your volunteer work to suit.

Teachers teach abroad. Budding marine biologists volunteer with marine conservation charities and improve their scuba diving skills. You get the idea. It shows that not only do you want to see the world, but you’re also keen to improve your skills and experience whilst you’re at it. You’re making the most of the time you’ve got to the best of your advantage.

So, fancy giving a little back? The opportunities are endless and so are the benefits – there’s no reason not to!