6 tips for getting the most out of your volunteering experience

 “By following these tips, you will find it much easier to discover the perfect volunteer opportunity.”

Volunteering can be a great and fulfilling experience. It can provide just as much value to you as the volunteer as to the organisation. However, it is not always easy to find the perfect opportunity with an organisation that matches your availability, ability and goals. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your volunteering experience.

Find a cause you are passionate about

Volunteering for a cause you are passionate about will help you stick to it in the long term and will help you get the most out of the experience. If you are not sure where to start, short-term volunteering at multiple organisations can help you find what you are passionate about.

Ask yourself, “What are my goals and interests?”

Knowing what you want to get out of volunteering and being able to communicate that to the organisation will enable you to get the most out of it.

  • Do you want to try something new or stick to what is familiar? Trying something new, gaining new skills and experiences can be some of the biggest benefits of volunteering. It is always a good idea to consider this.
  • What is my comfort zone? Do I want my experience to stay within my comfort zone or should I expand my horizons? Volunteering can be one of the best ways to expand your horizons and gain new skills. You can try new experiences by doing things you do not normally do at work or home.
  • Do I want to make a difference locally or more further afield?

Additionally, these questions will also be useful to finding the perfect opportunity.

  • What are the skills I can bring to the organisation? These skills can be from work or from other social clubs you belong to.
  • How much time can I commit?

Communicate with your volunteer organisation

It is important to make sure the role is a good match for you. Tell the organisation what your goals and interests are, so they can help you achieve them. Do your research on the organisation, find out what their mission is to see how your goals fit with theirs and ask lots of questions before you start.

Make sure you know what to expect and that your expectations are realistic

It is important to know what the organisation expects of you and to make sure you do not over commit. Consider starting small and increase your commitment as your confidence and abilities grow. This also give you the ability to change your focus as you discover what you do and don’t enjoy.

Do not be afraid to make a change

If things are not working out, do not force yourself into a role you do not like. Volunteering is time willingly given. Talk to the organisation about your role, they may have something more suitable.

Enjoy it!

Make sure you are having fun. It is important that you are getting something out of it as well. If you are not enjoying it, it is important to be reflective about why. Do you find the tasks unenjoyable or not what you thought they would be? Or is working with people more difficult then you thought?  Or is it simply because you are in a new situation. Knowing why you are not enjoying it will help you decide how to proceed.

By following these tips, you will find it much easier to discover the perfect volunteer opportunity.

There are many not-for-profits from large organisations to small local groups looking for new volunteers to joint their team. They look for people from all walks of life calling for many different skills.  No organisation can reach every potential volunteer and similarly volunteers could easily be daunted by searching all the not-for-profit organisation offering opportunities.  Volunteering North Queensland can help make finding the right opportunity easier for volunteers. We have a large not-for-profit membership base with a diverse range of volunteer opportunities available. Our personalised help match your skills and interests to a great opportunity.

Want to know what volunteers have experienced and the benefits they gained from volunteering? Check out their stories on our NEWSFEED.

If you would like to start your volunteer story, SEARCH for opportunities or make an appointment to talk to one of our friendly Recruitment Officer volunteers in the office or by phone.

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