If you were to google “Why Volunteer” “Benefits of Volunteering” you would be presented with numerous reasons from “social” to “personal” to “volunteering and happiness.”
According to Wikipedia “Volunteering is generally considered as altruistic activity where an individual or group freely gives time “to benefit another person, group or organisation” without being forced or being paid to do so. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life."
I believe volunteering can also be an element of a “portfolio career” or a “side hustle” to a regular full-time role or a number of part time roles! In the realms of having and enjoying a portfolio career for many that often means diversifying risk around having a number of part time positions to match shifting priorities and risk tolerance by generating multiple income streams aligned to work life integration.
There is no such thing as a perfect job and that is okay and whilst you may well be reading this and thinking “I chose a job I love and I don’t ever feel like I have worked a day in my life” for many it is unlikely that we will spend our entire careers in one role or industry, let alone one company! Volunteering can provide opportunities for growth, creativity, mentorship, a new social and or professional network and a sense of joy from knowing that by giving time, skills, expertise to benefit another person, group or organisation for the volunteer there is a sense of fulfilment that they may not feel within their “day job”. Every volunteer will have their own reasons for wanting to help others!
During my 15+ years of volunteering I have held collection tins, learnt the art of event management to organise fund-raisers, written various strategy papers on fund-raising, recruiting and leading volunteers across various initiatives. I have chaired volunteering committees been a global ambassador of an international charity to holding various UK and International Charity board or advisory positions. Within my “Day Job” whilst I have remained in one industry my roles have been across sales, marketing, operations and technology. I have utilised my “charity career experience” to lead companywide charity initiatives which has also enabled me to build my professional profile and network within the organisation I work for.
Whilst volunteering has given me a wide variety of skills that I would not have learnt in my “day job” I gain a huge amount of joy from helping others, it is humbling and inspiring to learn from others and their life stories. There is also a huge sense of achievement gained from selling all the tickets for a fund-raiser to organising auction prizes, seeing the bids and then being able to spend the funds raised to make a difference to the lives of others.
I could share so many stories that have touched my heart, I am also very blessed to have made life long friends through volunteering, back to the day job my colleagues aware of the joy I gain from volunteering organised an event whereby we entertained, played and provided food for a group of street kids – whilst these children lived on the streets with their families and had nothing but the clothes they stood up in they had the biggest smiles and a warmth of spirit that was incredible given their circumstance and just beyond humbling. Their smiles were contagious that day and so I would encourage anyone to get volunteering. Whilst you can share your skills and experience to make a difference, I would imagine volunteering will also make a positive difference to you too in more ways than you can imagine!
Rachelle Gaskell works full time with a side hustle of volunteering for fun!