What is Volunteering?
When the Stockton Volunteering Strategy was created the definition of volunteering was agreed as:
“An unpaid activity voluntarily undertaken for the direct benefit of individuals (other than, or in addition to, close relatives), the community or organisations and to the volunteers themselves.
There are many reasons people volunteer but some of the main reasons are:
- Share your skills
- Keep Busy
- Have Fun
- Have an impact and help people
- Be challenged
- For your civic duty
- To gain new skills and experiences
- To improve your self confidence
- To benefit from training opportunities
- To get references for future employment
- To make friends and meet new people
- To explore a new career path
How to Get Started
If you are looking to volunteer your time but don’t know where to start just follow the simple steps below:
What am I Passionate About?
One of the first things to do when you are thinking about volunteering is to decide what you are passionate about. List the causes or organisations you would like to help, or places where your skills would help best. If you already know which organisation you would like to volunteer for click here to browse organisations with volunteering opportunities in Stockton-on-Tees.
What do I Have to Offer?
List the skills and experience you have to offer. Maybe you’re good at organising, or have IT skills. Maybe you have experience teaching or have creative skills. Whatever your skill set and experience the most important things you can offer are enthusiasm, commitment and passion.
How Much Time Can You Give?
Work out how much time you can realistically give. Volunteering doesn’t necessarily have to take up a lot of your time, but you should always be frank about the other roles, responsibilities and commitments you have and the time you can dedicate to volunteering.
Some volunteering opportunities require a lot of time and commitment, not to mention training, but others can be short term, low commitment, part time or even one off events.
Don’t Forget to Research
When you know what kind of cause you are interested in, what you have to offer and how much time you can give you’re ready to search the opportunities available and research the organisations you’re interested in.
If the organisation you want to volunteer for has a website, take a look at decide if the organisation fits with what you’re looking for.
Know What to Expect
A lot of organisations invest considerable time and money in their volunteer programmes, and whilst, for most, volunteering is an incredibly rewarding activity, entering into an agreement to volunteer for an organisation without knowing what to expect can often lead to disappointment.
Be aware that some volunteering opportunities require considerable commitment and dedication, and should be approached as though applying for a paid job.
However, if you feel you are being treated unfairly when you do volunteer you can see what the rights and responsibilities of a volunteer are by visiting this page.
Once you know which organisation and opportunity you want to volunteer for contact the organisation using the information provided and get involved.