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Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

If you are a busy volunteer and trying to find balance in your life, it can be difficult. It may not seem as if you have enough hours in your day to get your “work” done, let alone find time to relax and de-stress. And what about friends, family, your children? Overworking and not achieving a healthy balance can be extremely tiring, not to mention, draining. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Turn off those devices

Being connected 24/7 can be tiring in itself. When did you last switch your phone off so you could do something uninterrupted? Those constant notifications and pings can distract your thought processes and your relaxation. Turning them off will allow you to enjoy the moment – even better when you are spending it with those you love. Give them 100% of your attention without the need to check your device constantly. Everyone will benefit because of it.

Everything does not have to be perfect

We are always surrounded by perfectionism – on television, in magazines and in the books we read. But keeping up with those standards of measurements can be difficult. Life is complicated and busy for a start! So if you have to let things slide for the sake of your sanity, then do it. Leave the dishes until tomorrow. Clean the bathroom in a day or two. Whatever you need to put off, it is truly okay. It will still be there tomorrow (unless someone kindly volunteers to do it for you!)

Schedule in exercise

Exercise is one of those things that we constantly tell ourselves we will do later. But the truth is, there is always an opportunity to exercise; we just need to make it a priority in our life. If you have time to sit down and watch a television program, then you have time to commit to a short exercise schedule a couple of occasions a week. Whether you enjoy yoga, want to job, go for a walk, or cycle, then schedule it in. It will not only make you feel less stressed about your busy lifestyle, but it will also improve your energy to get you through the day.

Take it one step at a time

Marathon runners don’t get to where they are without attempting small runs first. It is the same with making any changes in your life. You don’t aim to lose 20 pounds in a week and nor do you try to find 3 hours of “me time” in one go. Take it slowly and snatch moments here and there. Once you begin to see that giving yourself permission is kind, not selfish, then you will be keener to make changes, so it happens on a regular basis. Like exercise, scheduling it into your daily movements will help.

Create boundaries

It is not acceptable for people to call you at 11 pm or 7 am. It is not acceptable when you are asked to forego your lunch break to help out in the office. Create boundaries so people know when you are available – anything else can wait until you are available. Unexpected things happen regularly in life and the office, but your time is sacred and needs to be respected as well. If you don’t want to be interrupted, then turn your phone off and shut the door. People will soon understand when you are open to conversations or wish to discuss their requirements. Saying no is something you have to get used to saying more often.

Plan your holidays in advance

Plan your holidays in advance, so it gives you something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be an all-expenses paid cruise to unwind. Even a staycation (a holiday at home away from work or volunteering) can be great for the mind and body if you plan it right. Once you know your dates, then you can delegate as necessary. That will give time for a volunteer to step up to take on your responsibilities. And don’t forget if you do plan to go away, arrange for someone to water your plants and check on your home, to give you one less thing to have to worry about.

Join a group

While joining another group when you are time limited sounds counter-productive, it can do your mind a world of good. It allows you to concentrate on something else other than volunteering or the mundane chores at home. It also provides you with an avenue where you can spend time talking about something you like with other like-minded individuals. Do you have a hobby or wish to take one up? This is your chance to join a group and expand your knowledge.

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Filling the post of volunteer treasurer can be a difficult task for many boards. While volunteer treasurers are responsible for performing a number of significant tasks and duties, there are a number of myths about being a treasurer of a nonprofit organisation that can hold individuals back from volunteering. The following are a few of the benefits that can arise from fulfilling the role of volunteer treasurer.

Improve Self-Esteem and Sense of Self

Many volunteers report that they find that they effort and work that they do to support their cause is very rewarding. Volunteering gives folks that participate a sense that the work that they do is meaningful, and that the actions that they are taking are helping to bring about positive change and transforming their communities into a better place.

This sense of working with others to serve a greater purpose helps improve the morale and sense of well-being one has as a volunteer.

Networking

Because their service often involves working with both other volunteers and service recipients, volunteering gives others the opportunity to meet new people, and learn new things about existing connections. Volunteering connects individuals with others who often share their values, and this increases friendship and a spirit of camaraderie and belonging. Greater connectedness with others increases empathy and happiness, which can improve wellness and well-being.

Volunteering can also boost one’s employment opportunities, as it makes it easier for volunteers to meet others in diverse fields and backgrounds. This increases prospects for the volunteer and can make it easier to find new positions in one’s field, or change careers entirely.

Learn New Skills and Use Existing Skills in a Different Way

Many accounting software packages have simplified common treasurer tasks, such as creating the budget and other reports and documents. It is no longer absolutely necessary to have prior accounting or bookkeeping experience to be a successful volunteer treasurer. However, volunteers with prior accounting, finance, insurance or other similar experience benefit from using their existing skills in a new way that offers them a different perspective on accounting processes and procedures. Others without this experience will appreciate the chance to learn new skills that are frequently used by volunteer treasurers.

Learning new skills not only help volunteers to grow as individuals, but, it provides them with an opportunity to update their resume and possibly increase their chances of success should they decide to enter a new field or search for a new position.

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Your email list is one of the best resources you have. It consists of people who may have volunteered, are considering volunteering or are interested in your charity. That is why it is important to make the most of this method to boost the number of volunteers you have assisting your organisation.

Keep it short and to the point

While you make think a lengthy email is better, try to communicate all the information you have in one brief request. In today’s age, email holders are often overwhelmed with the number of emails that appear in their inbox. Keep it simple and to the point.

Emphasise the good they can do

Don’t just tell them what they can do, let them know how much they will be helping others by giving up their time. People volunteer to make a difference in the community, so demonstrate that in your email as much as possible.

Showcase the benefits

Volunteering can also teach individuals new skills which will often look good on their resume. Point these skills out to the reader so they understand that by giving up their time, they will also gain skills which can they can use to further their full-time positions or other volunteering positions in the future.

Personalise the email

Add the recipient’s name to the email so that there is a higher opportunity of them even reading it in the first place. It will increase your chances of being noticed and getting your message out there to your audience. Personalisation can increase the average open rate of non-profit emails to increase above the standard 25% to closer to 30%.

Add images to brighten their inbox

If your email text is all words, then your readers will likely skim over it and miss the important points. Add some interesting pictures so they can see at a glance what your charity represents and how they can help you individually. It will keep their attention for slightly longer and give you a fighting chance to gain extra volunteers.

Convey a sense of immediacy

Let your prospective volunteers know that it is important that they respond as quickly as possible. You don’t want to hear from prospects two months after your email goes out. Let them know that interest will need to be provided as soon as possible so you can move on to the next steps of the volunteer recruitment process.

These are all helpful tips to ensure that your email has more chance of being read, let alone acted upon. One bonus tip which you will find especially useful is to keep it real. Show your charity’s personality and aim through your email without trying to be something that you are not. Authenticity is extremely important in maintaining quality connections with your readers, your volunteers and the general public.

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smartphone-569076_640In April, a telling report named “State of Volunteering In Australia” was launched at the National Volunteering Conference. Some of the key findings were ways in which to address perceived shortcomings of volunteer recruitment and placement, as well as how to improve volunteer participation and retention.

Challenge Finding Enough Help

Interesting areas in the report addressed what potentially deters volunteers from becoming involved in non-profit projects, even when the need for volunteers is clear and present. This is pertinent to many not-for-profits, as close to 90% report finding adequate volunteer help is an ongoing challenge for their organisations.

Catch 22 of Finding Volunteers

In a somewhat cyclical manner, it appears some organisations are not getting enough help because they lack the resources to recruit or engage volunteers. In this way, the groups remain small or understaffed, and important work is stalled. Various solutions are suggested for this scenario; mostly surrounding advocating for funding, and recognition of the fiscal contribution volunteer participation brings to operations. Getting a financial boost from outside can be the impetus needed to be able to reach out for more assistance.

Main Deterrents for the Volunteers

Volunteers, for their part, don’t always seem to mind incurring out of pocket expenses to be able to volunteer, with over 60% saying they did so, and just 18% claiming reimbursement. However, for others it can be a barrier, so it pays to be mindful of what may be the case for your organisation. Make sure to offer reimbursement at recruitment if it seems to be an issue. Other things that can be barriers to volunteers offering their time most commonly include work commitments, and ‘excessive’ paperwork, including background checks required in some sectors.

Making the Most of the Volunteers

Another shortcoming that is affecting volunteer retention is the possible lack in positively matching the skills and abilities of volunteers with work organisations. Organisations do well when they recognise and apply the best people to particular jobs, rather than leaving volunteers to do the job paid employees don’t want to do. When good matches happen, it is a win-win, with volunteers returning time and again to assist groups they know need them.

While it is not always easy finding the people you need when you need them, being aware of what stands in the way of long-term volunteer/organisation relationships is a vital step.

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volunteers-601662_640Volunteering is a wonderful thing to do to boost your skills and help others, but did you know it can also boost your career? While you may not necessarily be getting paid for your volunteer work, it can still provide you with valuable knowledge of your particular industry as well as create quality references to fall back on during your personal and professional career.

Personal development is greatly enhanced giving you the opportunity to learn new skills or maintain and develop existing skills. Helping others can have a great impact on yourself and others and improve your self-esteem and sense of achievement. Volunteering can also bring people together from diverse and cultural backgrounds that you may not have the opportunity to meet in your regular day to day activities.

And of course, volunteering is not just for individuals. Businesses can also reap the rewards such as strengthening team bonds, increased morale, and of course, don’t forget good old fashioned fun.

Offering pro bono work is another way to offer your volunteer services in your own industry. Neo-philanthropist and entrepreneur Matthew Manos developed a “double-half” methodology – a 50% pro-bono business model that will have a great impact on your business and on you as an individual. Working on a volunteer project is also likely to make you more innovative, creative and resourceful – great qualities that can enhance your approach to business.

Perhaps you have the potential to take volunteers within your own organisation  Most volunteers won’t mind what they do as long as they feel their contribution is useful so by not accepting their help you could be overlooking a valuable resource. Or perhaps a retired business professional might be a great option to consider.

Anytime of the year is a great time to volunteer, and, more so around the holiday season. Whatever your reason for doing so, there are plenty of ways to give back to the community, without emptying your bank account. Depending on what it is you want to do, or whom you want to support, there is likely to be a lot of opportunity for you.

Whether you are seeking to volunteer or are taking volunteers, the relationships you create during these experiences will be the most memorable. Positive rewarding experiences are yours for the taking and with anything, today is a great day to start.

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iStock_000019063405SmallIf you have ever been tempted by volunteerism and pro-bono work, you may have considered doing it as an extracurricular activity – after working hours or during weekends and holidays. But what if someone told you that you can give away more than 50% of your regular work for free without any implications for your business except positive development and expansion? It may sound impossible, but the neo-philanthropist and entrepreneur Matthew Manos has something else to say about it.

About 6 years ago Matthew created his first company – verynice – and started developing the “double-half” methodology – a 50% pro-bono business model. With the help of more than 250 volunteers, verynice donates more than half of its work to not-for-profit organisations from all over the world, helping them save thousands of dollars. Over the past five years, verynice has donated work worth more than $1 million, which has been reinvested by the NFPs in their core activities and has made significant differences in the world.

In his recent article ‘Five Reasons to Give Half Your Work Away’, Matthew explains that following his business model will not affect your business in a negative way. According to him, adopting the “double-half” methodology will not only allow the NFPs you are working with to reinvest their funds for the achievement of their main goals (which he has achieved), it will also help you be part of the difference they make on a full-time basis – in contrast to other volunteer systems where people try to help in their free time. Moreover, Matthew claims that philanthropy is for everyone – not only the people who are already rich and have time to help.  By going pro-bono, you can actually prove that making a difference is not only reserved for a select group for people.

However, Matthew does not expect you to sacrifice your earnings and your business opportunities for the ‘greater good’. Instead, he explains that engaging in a pro-bono community and working with other volunteers and professionals will have a great impact on your business and on you as a human. One of the best things you are getting is numerous quality connections and acquaintances that are bound to prove useful at some point in the future. Besides, working on a volunteer project is likely to make you more innovative, creative and resourceful – qualities that you will find useful with your paid projects, too. And even more, the satisfaction of what you do is certain to invigorate you and make you feel inspired – and this is a reward not easily achievable in other ways.

If you want to learn more about the “double-half” methodology, visit Matthew’s website givehalf.co. There you will find more interesting information and resources, as well as the invaluable book ‘How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free’, which will explain the business model in more detail. In addition, it will answer some the most frequent questions about the operation of the methodology and what exactly is in it for you. Matthew claims that every business can find something in his model, and so far he has not been proven wrong. Make sure you check it out and discover how it can work for you.

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The Tiara Project overcomes financial barriers to turn all girls into princesses.

Admin Bandit, provider of software to support the treasurers of not-for-profit organisations, would like to commend client “The Tiara Project” for the wonderful work they are doing in our community.

Every young girl dreams of looking like a princess at her school formal or debut but until The Tiara Project came along girls from disadvantaged backgrounds were doomed to be stay-at-home Cinderella’s.

The Tiara Project is a Melbourne based not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to assist girls to overcome financial barriers so they can participate in formal and semi-formal events.  No girl wants to bear the stigma of being the odd one out.  Now she can confidently join in with social events wearing a stunning gown that no one knows is on loan.

Formed in April 2010, The Tiara Project has more than 600 immaculately beautiful dresses in stock along with elegant jewellery and accessories.  The garments, for all shapes and sizes, are loaned out for the special event so that every girl has her chance to be a princess.

Since the project began in April of this year The Tiara Project has dressed over 60 young ladies and made a big difference in their lives.

President, Amanda Stokes, says” We are currently dressing 15 young ladies with disabilities for them to attend their debutante ball.  This is in conjunction with the Bayside Council and Kingston Council. We have also arranged for Pink Limos to take the girls to the ball as well as Day Spa Parties to treat them to 2 hours of pampering on the day.  The Body Shop will be doing the girls makeup.  This has all been organised for FREE by The Tiara Project.”

The Body Shop will be providing ongoing support by doing FREE makeovers for each girl attending their ball.  The Beauty Club have come on board as another supporter and will be providing each girl with a lip gloss to take with her on the night.

The Tiara Project accepts referrals from school and community groups.  The project is seeking enthusiastic and passionate people to join the committee and make their next year a successful one.  If you would love to make a difference within the community this would be a lovely place to start.

The Tiara Project is doing remarkable work in boosting self-esteem and confidence in girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Admin Bandit encourages businesses and individuals to support their efforts though the donations of time, money or outfits.

For more information about “The Tiara Project” please go to the website http://www.thetiaraproject.com.au

For more information about the other not-for-profit clients of Admin Bandit please contact Nerida Gill Ph: 02 6176 0030 Web:  www.adminbandit.com.au

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