Honing your skills through Volunteering.

The time given for volunteering has many benefits, from personal sati10357121_1570466546577990_5468601647025790185_nsfaction to learning new skills and gaining experience. For the volunteer, volunteering can help in personal development. For society, volunteering can help in expanding outreach and boost the community spirit through involvement.

One way of volunteering is using our skill sets. If we feel we have an interest or are particularly proficient in something, we can choose to volunteer in those skills. A number of local small social organizations have been developed by housewives using their interests and skill sets in traditional textile embroidery to teach and involve less fortunate women in projects which create outfits to be sold and gain household income.  Other popular activities include teaching the underprivileged and conducting medical camps for the poor by doctors.

All of the activities mentioned above use that ‘particular skill set’ which is important to the activity’s focus, but to run any activity or enable it to grow its outreach, such institutions need further help. Often students are asked to intern to provide help. The help required is unplanned, often frustrating the   student who normally just spends his time twiddling his thumbs or partaking in a mundane activity.

Such volunteering is not fruitful for anyone – the institutions will gain little out of the time – whilst there will be no learning experience for the student or volunteer. Volunteering, if properly managed can be a valuable learning experience adding to the skillsets and confidence of the person.

Establishing volunteer management plans can derive the greatest benefit out of volunteers for nongovernmental organizations and charities.  The plans define the activities volunteers can be used for. This can be used to meet expanding needs in institutions with limited resources. If the institution is able to define what it needs and the volunteer can be recruited to meet its requirements – then there can be a ‘match’ so to speak. If volunteers can choose particular activities that appeal to them which make use of what they know, then they can be content in making a more meaningful contribution.

Globally, this type of volunteering has become very widespread. With the advent of the internet and social media, volunteering has become very easy. Many portals are available online which make it possible for volunteering in many ways.  Most portals allow you to develop a profile and identify your interests, skill sets and also show profiles and requirements not for profits which require volunteers – making it easy to choose.

The National Volunteer Programme offers this facility.  Volunteer recruitment is managed through filling in a form online. The advantage of the programme is that it has defined areas where volunteers can assist in terms of interests and skill sets. Beneficiary institutions let us know of the needs through the ‘job description template’ about the requirements they have and we match both volunteers and institutions where both can benefit most.

It is also easier to become involved with these institutions as well if they have defined modes of volunteering. In this day and age with work, family commitments, internet, socializing and other activities – all our time is literally timetabled.  If we slot in volunteering in our time, we would look forward to being productive in that time period.  The National Volunteer Programme offers the opportunity to be compassionate and hone in personal development.

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