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6 tips for getting the most out of your volunteering experience

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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How to say “No!” when volunteering to prevent burnout

How to say “No!” when volunteering to prevent burnout

Many volunteers passionately give their time and quickly put their hand up to say “Yes!”   The word “No” however, isn’t heard enough!  The more Yes’s there are, the smaller that Yes becomes until it is stretched so wide, that it lacks any depth of commitment.  A Yes that is meaningful is followed by a lot of No’s.  For example, the Yes made between two people at marriage is a powerful commitment of love that is kept by a No to all others.    

Unfortunately, “Yes” is too often the answer from generous volunteers when it should have been “No”. It’s all too easy to overestimate your capacity, keep others happy or just be caught up in the busyness of achievement.     

When volunteering your time and skills, learning the art of saying “No!” will enrich your “Yes!” and help prevent the chances of burnout.

To say No say – “That is a great idea. Unfortunately, I am already fully committed.”

To say No because you are busy at the moment – “I can do that IF it can be done later?”

To say No to something that is important – We need to do that. Who else has the availability and ability to do it?”

It can be hard to say “No!” but when you say No to all the distractions and extra’s, you are saying “Yes!” to things that you have committed to already.

 

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Volunteering! Getting Started

Volunteering! Getting Started

Volunteering is a very rewarding experience and this free information session will help set you up to have a great experience. Whether you are new to volunteering (or not) the information in this session will boost your confidence in getting started and continuing to volunteer.

Information covered in the free session will include:

  • Your Rights & Responsibilities as a volunteer
  • Protections when volunteering (Insurance and Legislation)
  • Questions to ask the organisation before starting
  • Expectations of Volunteers and Organisations

What:     Information Session

When:    Thursday, 5th December 2019

                 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Where:   Volunteering North Queensland Training Room

Presenter

Shane Harris

Manager

Volunteering North Queensland

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2019 Training & Networking Calendar

Networking Events

Volunteer Managers - VM Cafe's, Training & Networking

Training Sessions

Other Training

Event Manager appointed to coordinate Volunteer Conference 2020

Event Manager appointed to coordinate Volunteer Conference 2020

Planning for the Volunteer Conference 2020 in Townsville is ramping up with the appointment of an Event Manager.  Tasked with enacting the vision of the Volunteer Management Committee and coordinating activities conducted by Volunteering North Queensland’s volunteer staff and the event volunteers, Kim Borkowski brings a wealth of experience to the role.

Kim has 20 years of experience in the events, entertainment and marketing industries in government departments and private enterprise. Her work includes being part of the team that delivered the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Marketing and Promotions Officer at Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE and Event and Protocol Officer with Townsville City Council.

Kim is excited to bring Volunteering North Queensland’s conference vision to fruition in 2020 and beyond, as well as delivering other events throughout the year, to support volunteer managers and NFP organisations.

Kim has a long family history in Townsville and after years globetrotting and living in Sydney and on the Sunshine Coast, returned in 2013 with her husband and 2 children to be closer to family and friends.

Some Fun Facts about Kim:

  • Her 2 boys went to the same primary school as their great grandmother.
  • She hosted the Prime Minister of Australia during the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea Commemoration – do you know who our PM was at the time?
  • 2 x Australian Barefoot Waterski Champion (a very long time ago…)
  • She lived in Italy for 18 months – ragazza fortunata!
  • Jumped out of a plane 70 times!

We encourage anyone interested in attending the conference to sign up to receive updates as the program develops and guest speakers are announced NQ Volunteer Conference 2020 Updates

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New Community Training Workshop Videos and PDF Resources

New Community Training Workshop Videos and PDF Resources

Did you miss out on our recent training workshops? Did you want to do another workshop happening at the same time?  Want to revisit some of the tips give in the workshop? Want to equip your team members?

We hope that the online resource that we’ve started will continue to help you and your team well beyond the training day event itself.

You can now find the following Video summaries online:

  • Grant Writing,
  • Team building,
  • Delegation Skills
  • Volunteer Trends 2018-19

You can also find all the PDF resources developed from the VM Café discussion groups including:

  • Volunteer Nurturing and Retention
  • Volunteer Induction Checklists
  • Communicating Vision to Volunteer Teams
  • Volunteer Team Building
  • Corporate and Group Volunteer Obstacles

This library of resources will continue to grow providing summaries from workshops at our training and networking events and is freely accessible to everyone for a limited time before becoming one of our membership benefits.

RESOURCES

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NQ Volunteer Conference 2020 Updates

NQ Volunteer Conference 2020 Updates

We are working hard preparing for the inaugural North Queensland Volunteer Conference 2020 and we’ll be posting updates soon.  Be sure to subscribe to updates so you don’t miss out on the latest news.  www.vnq.org.au/nq-volunteer-conference

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248% Growth in Networking & Training Events for Community Organisations

248% Growth in Networking & Training Events for Community Organisations

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Well, that’s a wrap for Volunteering North Queensland’s training and networking events for 2019 following the Better Together Breakfast and Workshops on the 10th of October 2019.  We couldn’t be happier with the connections that have been facilitated and the new knowledge attendees have received. 

The introduction of the three Better Together Breakfasts in 2019 with national and local professional keynote speakers was a success.  Keynote speakers Aaron Newman, CEO of QCCU, Andy Fryar, National Operations Manager of Better Impact Australia & New Zealand and Sarah Singh, Slater & Gordon Lawyers, each providing a unique insight into the volunteering community. 126 participants from across the NFP, Corporate and Government sectors took the opportunity to network and strengthen cross-sector relationships.

Additionally, a total of 29 training workshops were provided to 394 participants, which is a growth of 248% on 2018. We engaged professional speakers on a variety of identified needs in the community sector and moved from monthly workshops to three training events with concurrent workshops at the Mercure Townsville.  It’s our passion that these workshops will continue to equip and strengthen whole teams of staff and volunteers and serve as a training ground for new talents in community organisations.

Our passion for supporting Volunteer Managers, Volunteer Coordinators and Leaders of Volunteers continues as we hosted monthly networking and training opportunities throughout the year to connect, share ideas and learn.

If you missed any of these events, videos of workshops and resources for volunteer managers, coordinators and team leaders can now be accessed online anytime at www.vnq.org.au/resources

Planning for the 2020 Training calendar is now underway, and your feedback is valuable in determining how we can best serve you and your organisation.  We are interested in hearing from you what training you are interested here.   

If you are interested in talking more about how we can work together to provide training and networking opportunities in 2020 we would love to talk more with you. Please contact us here.

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Not-for-profit Volunteer Management & Board Ready Partnership Announcement

Not-for-profit Volunteer Management & Board Ready Partnership Announcement

An innovative sponsored program is set to deliver improved governance within the not-for-profit sector

Learning Partnerships RTO 31719 and Volunteer North Queensland (VNQ) have joined in an exciting partnership to provide much needed governance training through a Volunteer Management and Board Ready program for the Townsville community.

In recent times, not-for-profit organisations have experienced significant regulatory reform, and in the wake the unprecedented monsoonal event and economic downturn, it’s fair to say that good governance, volunteer management and a committee’s understanding of their roles and responsibilities has never been more important.

Miranda Hamilton, Managing Director at Learning Partnerships said “Good governance encourages new members into leadership positions, improves organisational efficiency, longevity and financial viability, as well as adding strength to an organisations applications for funding grants.”

The flexible three-day Volunteer Management and Board Ready Program is followed by quarterly mentoring sessions provided by Learning Partnerships and, 12-months of free volunteer referral services provided by VNQ.  Participants will receive a Certificate of Attendance and on completion of the program workbooks, accredited with two nationally recognised units of competency; BSBWOR502 “Lead and Manage Effective Teams” and BSBGOV405 “Undertake the roles and responsibilities of a board or committee member”.

Gerard Byrne, governance specialist and program presenter explained “Good Governance is a passion for me. Through years of helping not-for-profits it is clear that we need to support groups with strategies and processes at the top for successful grant submissions and long-term sustainability”.

Shane Harris, Manager at Volunteering North Queensland said “This is a great opportunity for companies and business in Townsville to invest into the local community through sponsorship of a not-for-profit organisation’s participation in the program which will build their capacity for social impact.”  

Miranda Hamilton said “Learning Partnerships is excited to partner with VNQ.  We have a great synergy in vision and values for our community. Learning Partnerships are specialists in management and governance training and advisory services and, VNQ is a leading volunteer matching service, connecting individual, corporate and groups of volunteers with great volunteer experiences. 

Not-for-profit organisations wanting to participate in the program and corporates looking to sponsor community organisation can contact Learning Partnerships or VNQ via www.vnq.org.au/training/not-for-profit-volunteer-management-and-board-ready-program/

 

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The Last of Three Successful Better Together Breakfast in 2019

The Last of Three Successful Better Together Breakfast in 2019

Thursday, 10th of October will be the last of the three networking breakfasts we introduced this year.  We have been encouraged by the interest from not-for-profits, businesses, and governments eager to strengthen cross-sector connections.  We believe that it is through these connections, together, we will continue to build a better community!

The Keynote speaker, Sarah Singh from Slater & Gordon Lawyers, a Townsville local, is passionately involved in the community.  Sarah will be speaking about the benefits of volunteering for both the business and the employees that volunteer.  These insights will provide an understanding of the unique ROI a corporate volunteering program can bring to a business and its staff.  Not-for-profits will equally gain insight into the goals of corporate volunteering programs so mutually beneficial volunteering opportunities can be developed.

  

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7 Networking & Training Sessions to Strengthen your Community Organisation

7 Networking & Training Sessions to Strengthen your Community Organisation

Registrations are open for a range of great networking and training sessions being held on Thursday, 10th of October 2019.  Make connections and receive practical training that will strengthen your organisations capacity for social impact in our community.

The day starts with the last of three successful networking breakfast introduced this year that provide an opportunity to bridge the gap between the not-for-profit, business and government board rooms for the purpose of building partnerships.  The day continues with a range of training sessions with local professionals including marketing, grant writing, team building and volunteer recruitment strategies to equip staff and volunteers in community organisations and groups. 

Bring the whole team to the relevant sessions and let it be a catalyst for new ideas and a breathe of freshness to your organisation.  Contact us directly at manager@vnq.org.au to enquire about a discount for registering 5 or more participants from your organisation across any of the training sessions.

Keynote Speaker:    Sarah Singh, Slater & Gordon Lawyers

Topic:     Benefits of Corporate Volunteering

When:    7:15 am to 8:30 am

Where:   Mercure Townsville – Burdekin Room

More Info & Registrations>>

Facilitator:     Sarah Mathiesen, Harshmellow Media

When:    9:00 am to 12:30 pm – Catered morning tea

                6:00 pm to 8:30 pm – Catered savory platter on arrival

Where:   Mercure Townsville – Burdekin Room

More Info & Registrations>>

Facilitator:     Renee Madsen, Create & Evaluate

When:    9:00 am to 12:30 pm – Catered morning tea

                6:00 pm to 8:30 pm – Catered savory platter on arrival

Where:   Mercure Townsville – Eacham Room

More Info & Registrations>>

Facilitator:     Shane Harris, Volunteering North Queensland

When:    9:00 am to 12:30 pm – Catered morning tea

Where:   Mercure Townsville – Tinaroo Room

More Info & Registrations>>

Facilitator:     Shane Harris, Volunteering North Queensland

When:    AGM         6:00 pm to 6:30 pm – Catered savory platter on arrival

                Volunteer Trends         8:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Where:   Mercure Townsville – Tinaroo Room

More Info & Registrations>>

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