There is an increased awareness and sensitization about volunteering work these days. The spirit of ‘giving back to the society’ is growing and spreading across people from all walks of life. It paints a very positive picture of the society as a whole, wherein everyone can contribute towards the society in a meaningful and sustainable way.
Non-profit organizations offer innumerable opportunities for civic engagement for the greater good. Additionally, many companies and employers even have policies to foster this kind of civic engagement in charitable activities like volunteering for their employees. You might also be interested in volunteering for a cause you relate to, but might be facing difficulty and dilemma to take the first step. If you are a company employee, you may also be facing issues like shortage of time to volunteer despite the willingness to do so. So, weekend volunteering opportunities may be the option you are looking for.
Many of us wish to contribute our time, skills and energy towards a good cause. The basic reason behind this wish is to give it back to the society we live in. Some specific reasons why one wants to volunteer are:
- Sense of achievement by being able to make a change
- Self-fulfillment and positivity
- Building a social network
- Aiming for a career progression! (Yes, volunteering experience matters!)
- Other personal reasons.
Whatever the reasons may be, all of them are the means to achieve the end of greater good. So, find out your own reason and get on with it.
How to contact NGOs for volunteering:
- Choose your passion:
Think about it. What is it that you would like to do as a volunteer? Is it elderly care you would like to do, or do causes like child education or vocational training appeal to you more? If you are serious about volunteering, please spend some time thinking about this. You should devote your time and efforts towards the cause you are passionate about, and at the same time can do it with objectivity in terms of emotional involvement. Not that all emotional involvement is bad, but maintaining a healthy balance between head and heart is important for doing a good job at volunteering.
- Look for an NGO in your locality/ city:
Once you have decided that you would like to work with children, you need to search for an organization doing this work. Search for NGOs working in this sector in your city or locality. Look into your work schedule, see what time and day suits you, and then choose whether you want the NGO to be close to your place or it is okay otherwise also. If you cannot make up your mind so soon, do one thing. Shortlist NGOs as per their area of work, domain and locality, or any other criteria. You can search more about these and then make a decision.
- Check websites of NGOs:
Once you have done the short listing, check out the websites of selected ones. This will give you an idea about their work, areas of operation, activities and upcoming events, and what other volunteers have to say about the organization. It will help you further in making decisions about which organization you would like to volunteer with.
- Commit yourself to the cause:
Weekend volunteering is a great option for working people. If you are an employee in a company and work 5 or 6 days a week, this will enable you to pursue your passion to work towards a cause with the time you have. But understand that you will need to commit your time and efforts once you are into it. So make a visit to the organization or their working areas, and convey your willingness. You may also register yourself online as a volunteer for some NGOs provide that option on their websites. Once you are a volunteer, the organization will need some commitment from you for your time and efforts over a chosen period of time. Be disciplined and committed towards the work you want to do for them.
- Open up about what you don’t know:
Discuss in detail about what work the NGO does. Most commonly, you will be invited by the NGO for a field visit or an orientation day to brief you about the work and activities. If not, you may request them to set a meeting or schedule a visit for you as per mutual convenience. Introduce yourself, not just by your name and designation, but as ‘the real you’. Let them know why you are interested in the cause, what skills you possess to contribute towards the organization, and what you would like to learn. It is good to admit what aspects of volunteering you don’t know about but are willing to learn. This will help you in learning new things, fostering good communication and healthy discussions, which is ultimately good for all, you, the organization, and the community you wish to serve.