The Art of Volunteering

 Put a smile on someone’s face, become a Volunteer!

The value of volunteering should not be underestimated. Volunteers come from many different backgrounds and bring with them a myriad of life experiences. They are found in hospitals, supporting key community services such as Meals on Wheels, or working with charities such as the RSPCA and the Society for the Blind. The list is endless, and every volunteer makes their mark and adds value to the organisations they support. 

Volunteering is an amazing experience, and an extremely worthwhile way of making a contribution to the community as a whole. It allows you to be involved in activities that would not normally come your way. You meet such a range of people you wouldn’t normally get to meet, which broadens life experiences, as well as giving you the opportunity to learn new skills.

My experience of being a volunteer was through a long and very enjoyable involvement with the Australian Institute of Office Professionals (AIOP).  I joined in 1992 when it was still known as the Institute of Professional Secretaries (IPSA), and never would have imagined that it would lead me on a journey that culminated in becoming National President from 2011-2013.

What a journey it has been! I have met so many talented people, and through their encouragement and generous sharing of knowledge and skills, I have been inspired to reinvent myself along the way, from being quite an introvert to being able to confidently present at seminars and conferences. 

Think about what you have a passion for – whether it is sport, continued learning, medicine or animal welfare whatever it is, look for organisations that need assistance. You will then be working within an environment that you feel strongly about, which enhances the overall experience. It is a great start to a possible career move and, may open doors you never knew existed.

Volunteers bring new blood to an organisation. With that comes new ideas, which are invaluable as companies look to continue to be relevant in the fast-paced world of technology.  If you feel you have the passion, take the first step and approach a company or organisation of your choice. Ask to speak to a human resources representative or a manager. Let them know your background and what you feel you could offer as a volunteer. You never know where this step will take you, it may be the beginning of something wonderful.

Being a volunteer is a free experience, and time spent with any organisation will keep you positive and motivated, as you connect with people working together for the benefit of others. Volunteering is not just giving to others it is time invested in yourself as you build relationships with other motivated people.

(excerpt taken from TIME TO THINK BIG! Choose the best Career and Future for YOU. By Catherine Middleton https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0795CF8S1

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