Volunteering – Everyone should be doing it

Ange Connor

Last week I was asked to share my Volunteering experiences with the 2015 Leadership Ballarat and Western Region program participants. In preparing for and sharing my volunteering experiences it made me reflect on the contribution I have made and value I have added to various organisations I have supported over the years as well as what I have gained both personally and professionally from my experiences.

Volunteering shouldn’t be about what’s in it for you. I believe first and foremost it’s about giving, helping, supporting, donating your time, knowledge, expertise and/or skills to community groups, not-for-profit organisations, charities that rely on volunteers to survive. For me, my volunteering has always been driven by a cause that I am passionate about; I think that’s crucial. In talking to the 2015 participants it was exciting to hear how many of them volunteer and how much they love and are passionate about the contribution they make.

There are so many positives to take from volunteering and I encourage many people I provide career coaching services to, to get involved in volunteering. I’ve also always encouraged my team to volunteer and have provided flexibility in the workplace to support volunteering activities. I believe volunteering should be included in employees training and development plans in the workplace as I have experienced first-hand and observed through my team, the invaluable    experience and growth that volunteering provides both personally and professionally.

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If you’re not volunteering, here is why you should and why I’d encourage every employer to build volunteering into their employees’ development plans:

  • It’s your opportunity to give back and make a difference. Help make your community a better place.
  • You’ll meet new people and build relationships with others that you normally wouldn’t cross paths with.
  • Volunteering provides different insights and perspectives into what’s happening in your community.
  • Depending on what type of volunteering you do, it will develop skills such as communication, interpersonal, time management, attention to detail, influencing, negotiating, presenting. The skill development opportunities are endless.
  • You’ll be presented with opportunities to learn and understand the importance of good governance, risk management, compliance, financial management etc.
  • It’s an opportunity for you to share your knowledge and expertise with others; contributing to their growth and development.
  • Volunteering will often require you to think innovatively and solve problems or overcome challenges with out of the box solutions.
  • It will develop your skills in working as a team to achieve a common goal, with people from all walks of life.
  • Volunteering will teach you a lot about yourself – your values, what you stand for, what’s important to you

There are so many positives for volunteering but most importantly it needs to be about what you have to give. If you are simply volunteering to resume build then I believe you are doing it for the wrong reasons and it will show through to others in the effort you make and your commitment levels. There is lots of great information and research on volunteering as well as details about current volunteering opportunities at Volunteering Australia. Volunteering is a win – win for everyone and it’s a contribution you’ll never regret making.

About The Author
Ange Connor

Ange is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource (HR) and careers agencies. Ange is an ‘ideas’ person and a ‘big picture’ thinker. She loves to challenge the status quo – in fact, that’s how Inspire HQ began.

Ange has supported hundreds of businesses across Ballarat and regional Victoria to attract, engage, motivate, develop and retain their greatest assets; their people. Ange’s unyielding passion and invaluable knowledge of the recruitment and HR industry ensures she delivers the best solutions for her clients.

Ange has held various board positions and regularly volunteers her time to share her industry and market knowledge. She was recently a Councillor for the Victoria and Tasmania region of the Recruitment Consulting and Staffing Association (RCSA) of Australia and New Zealand, and she is a current Board Director of the Committee for Ballarat.

For more useful information, follow Ange on LinkedIn.

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