To make a real difference, sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and become a volunteer!
There are many different types of volunteer and many different pathways to becoming a volunteer. I am going to give you a few tips on the best ways to go about becoming a volunteer.
Making A Difference
Making a difference is something that most people aspire to do. Volunteering can be very daunting, as it is something that requires vast amounts of selflessness and enthusiasm. To become a volunteer is one of the best ways to make a difference for people who are living in poverty or do not have the advantages that you have or just simply supporting a cause that you value. Volunteering can be anything from a beach clean-up to three months in a foreign country working with an NGO. Personally, I am about to travel to Cambodia to spend three months teaching at a school. It was a huge decision, but I have had a good education and it was only right to give back. I go by the saying, ‘If you have something to give, give it.’
Volunteering is all about being selfless, and thinking about other people before yourself.
Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone is a major part of becoming a volunteer. Sometimes trying something new can be terrifying! Furthermore, it is likely that you will be working with people that you have never met before in a place that you are unfamiliar with. But this is part of the experience! Volunteering is amazing because not only does it give you the opportunity to make a difference, it can also have a positive effect on you.
Different Types of Volunteering
Volunteering can be anything from a beach clean up to packing up and moving to a foreign country. No matter what you do or what type of volunteering that you do, you can still make a positive difference! MoneyCrashers provides a really good list of different types of volunteering; Animal Rescuer, Soup Kitchen Chef, Local Librarian, NGO, School Teacher at a charity school, a lobbyist in a political campaign or even a blood donor.
Where and With Who
When you are deciding who and where to begin your journey as a volunteer, think about your interests and passions. For example, if you have an interest in marine biology, why not spend a day volunteering at an aquarium or researching the impacts of the environment on marine life for organisations such as NatGeo or GreenPeace. If you seriously want to make a difference, choose a cause that you connect with.
Furthermore, it can be a great idea to bring a friend with you! To make the experience even more enjoyable, why not bring a friend to help you support your cause. Not only does this spread the word about the issues that you are helping to resolve, but it also creates an opportunity to make some amazing memories.
Do Your Research!
When you decide to become a volunteer, no matter the cause or the organisation, it is crucial that you do your research.
Unfortunately, this world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and there are certain organisations that are set up to exploit well-meaning volunteers.
When I was planning my trip to Cambodia, I had to research all of the different schools that offered volunteer programs to ensure that I was connecting with an organisation that did not exploit the volunteers or the children.
If you have any cool stories about your volunteering experiences, or if this article was helpful for your planning, please let me know in the comments below!