Let us begin by saying what volunteering is?
As the Wikipedia encyclopaedia states ‘Volunteering is the practice of people working on behalf of others or a particular cause without payment for their time and services’. Some people choose to volunteer purely because of their need to help the less fortunate and others may volunteer in order to develop their own skills, get job experience or just to do something different and have fun.
Who can become a volunteer?
People from all backgrounds can do volunteer work because there are many areas in which volunteers are needed.
But even though volunteer work is incredibly varied not everyone is suitable for the same kind of job. Depending on the tasks and responsibilities involved in the job a potential volunteer may have to undergo specific training or take a preparatory course in the case when special qualifications are needed - This is the so called ‘skills-based volunteering’.
What are the most popular Volunteering jobs?
In this case volunteers concentrate on matters concerning the natural environment. Volunteers usually conduct a range of activities, some of which are:
-ecological restoration (e.g. re-vegetation)
-education of local people about caring for their environment
This can be a great opportunity for nature lovers to commune with the natural world.
Volunteering in Schools
Volunteering in schools is common all around the world, but is probably most widely extended in countries with a poor economy. In most cases you do not to meet high requirements in order to become a volunteer in a school. Parents, grandparent or community members are usually only asked to fill out a form. The responsibilities of a volunteer in this case can be very wide-ranging. A volunteer might be asked to do anything, beginning with helping to maintain tidiness on the grounds of school, fundraising to even teaching.
eVolunteering has various other names, for example: online volunteering, micro volunteering, cyber service, telementoring or teletutoring, but they all mean the same – it is a term describing a volunteer who completes his/her tasks on the Internet using a computer offsite from the organization being assisted.
Corporate Volunteering / Employee volunteering
This refers to the companies which allow their employees to volunteer during work hours. This is regarded as one of the social responsibility activities of the company. Companies are willing to permit their workers to volunteer because it is a way of raising the loyalty among customers and enhancing the company’s image and reputation.
Volunteering is beneficial not only to the people or organization the volunteers work for but also for the volunteers themselves. Often volunteering has a great impact on their lives and allows them to broaden their horizons. It is not only a way to make a difference but it can enable young people to get valuable experience and knowledge and in some cases even live through exciting adventures.
How to start?
This is really quite simple. Almost in every larger city around the world there are volunteer organizations of some sort. There are numerous websites on the internet that allow people to find the volunteering organization of their interest. These organizations often have their own internet sites which offer information about application, needed qualifications and the characteristics of the job.
There are also negative opinions about volunteering. Some critics, such as Ivan Illich (the author of the speech ‘To Hell with Good Intensions’) claim that volunteer work is a way of extending power and authority over indigenous cultures around the world .
More recently the concept of medical-tourism also has been criticized by many people (this refers to volunteers travelling overseas to deliver care).
What do you think about volunteering? Have you ever been a volunteer? What area would you like to volunteer in?