VolunteerKingston

Volunteerism in the community and beyond

6 Self-Assessment Questions to Ask Before Volunteering

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Volunteering is not as simple as signing up for community service or in social good opportunities. It has its own set of challenges that may be unique to the individual. Factors like personal preferences and time to sustain involvement are some of the things you need to consider before setting out to volunteer. Here are some self-assessment questions to find the right volunteer work for you.

1. How much time do I devote to volunteering?

Volunteering is a commitment that requires a percentage of your time. Find time to reflect on how much time you can dedicate to volunteering and stick to it. The last thing you want is to over-promise and under-deliver when other people and projects depend on you.

2. What is it that I can contribute?

What is it that you hope to do or contribute for volunteering? Do you have specific skill sets that you think will benefit the community or program you wish to help? How or where can you make the most impact? While helping others do not require talent or skill, they can be quite useful when you want to serve with a specific purpose in mind.

3. What do I want to get from it?

What people say about volunteering being a thankless job is generally true. But the experiences are priceless. What learning and experiences do you want to get from giving back to your community? Are there specific skill sets you want to develop? Define your experiential goal and start from there when picking which project or program you wish to volunteer.

4. What are my minimum requirements or expectations?

Volunteering may take you out of your comfort zone. And if you are on a volunteer trip abroad, it may even mean giving up some of the familiar comforts that you are used to at home. You may want to ask yourself how much you are willing to give up in terms of comfort before you volunteer

5. Do I have the resources to pay for the expenses involved?

Volunteer work is not a costly endeavor. But it may entail some expenses on your part, especially if you are planning to volunteer or intern abroad. How much money do you want to set aside to fund whatever miscellaneous expense your volunteering requires?

6. Am I prepared to cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of volunteering?

Giving back to the community, paying it forward, or doing whatever you can for social good is not about solving big problems in the world. But it may expose you to things like hunger, extreme poverty, and other issues that seem too complicated and difficult to solve. On a personal level you may even find yourself in situations when you feel helpless to do anything for others. You have to ask yourself if you are prepared to deal with the emotional and psychological challenges you may experience while volunteering.

Keeping Volunteers Engaged

volunteers

Volunteers can help your organization accomplish important goals. They typically find it a rewarding experience to engage in meaningful and fulfilling work. Knowing how to manage volunteers effectively allows you to harness their enthusiasm, creativity, and passion to achieve a common cause or objective. Managing volunteers may be tricky. But given the opportunity, they can accomplish things that contribute to your goals.

Identify the needs. Creating a volunteer group is ideally a win-win situation for all stakeholders. But before you start recruiting, you have to determine the roles and tasks that each of your future volunteer will have to perform. Factor in how you can adequately provide appropriate support if needed.

Plan the recruitment process. Prepare appropriate materials designed to spark interest among potential recruits. Provide key information you think your potential volunteers would need to know such as the amount of time you need them to commit to.

Look for the right fit. Finding the right recruits for the tasks at hand is essential to effective volunteer management. The interview process is a good opportunity for you to find the right candidate that would match your volunteer requirements. Keep in mind that your goal is not just to fill a volunteer position. You also have to consider if the volunteer candidates would find it rewarding to do the work you have for them.

Make it worth their time. Preparing a volunteer management plan can help you manage volunteers that will make it worth their time. Identify who will responsible in supervising and assisting them, if needed. Build a volunteer program that is not just beneficial to your organization but also to the volunteers as well.

Orient them properly. Welcome volunteers and orient them properly to prepare them to the tasks at hand. Make the most of the time to familiarize volunteers with your organizational history, vision, and mission. Be clear about expectations and share ground rules that your volunteers need to know. An orientation is also a good time to make your volunteers feel a sense of belonging to your organization.

Give them the right training, if needed. Not all volunteers will have the same level of experience and expertise on the tasks at hand. Provide them with the necessary training through informal mentoring or coaching. Or you can prepare training materials that they can review on their own. You can also encourage them to refer to your website or other online resources that can help them accomplish their job.

Recognize and celebrate. Never miss an opportunity to thank your volunteers for their contributions. Recognize their efforts and reward them for a job well done.