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Posts Tagged ‘volunteering’

pexels-photo-261577Working or volunteering at an NFP can be a time-consuming task. It can feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get through the to-do list, let alone come up with creative ideas for fundraising activities. So what can you do to make the most of your volunteer hours?

Create a workable system

You will need to come up with a system so you can use the time you have to the best of your advantage. Organise everything so you can find it quickly; make lists, create folders, manage a diary – whatever works for your particular job or project. The better organised you are, the easier it will be to manage your time effectively.

Stop procrastinating

Often when things get busy, it is easy to spend time worrying about the mountain of paperwork or the number of items on the to-do list. The trick is to tackle them one at a time. Cross an item off the list and move on to the next one. Don’t spend your energy worrying about things – just do what needs to be done when you have the time.

Work from home where necessary

Sometimes working from home is in your best interests when you have a long or complex task to do. It can mean you can work on it in your own time without interruption, reporting back to the office as necessary. It may not work for all projects, but it could help when you are time limited and could save on much travel time between locations.

Break projects down into mini-tasks

If you are overseeing a big project, then it is often easier to bring things down into workable chunks. Plan your day so you can work on one project to completion. Then move onto something else and repeat. This will take much of the stress and overwhelm out of the work day and minimise time wastage from switching from task to task.

Avoid checking emails and messages first thing

Emails and messages can cut into your day. Try to get out of the habit of checking your emails as soon as you arrive at the office. Start working on your to-do list and save the message checking until mid-morning or mid-afternoon when you feel like you need a break. Add an automatic reply which states you will respond within a 24 hour period, so you don’t feel rushed to answer immediately.

Give yourself a break

You are only human, and you cannot do it all TODAY. Burnout will be no good for you or the NFP you are volunteering for. Do what you can, when you can and be happy with that. And if the NFP is struggling to get through the tasks set, then it may be time for them to look for an extra pair of hands to help you out. While challenging work is good for the soul, self-sacrifice will do you no good at all.

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light-sign-typography-lightingPro Bono has just called for nominations for Pro Bono Australia’s 2016 Impact 25 awards.

These awards are designed to recognise this year’s most influential people working to make the world a better place.

In our world, there are many dedicated people who work really hard for the benefit of their charity or NFP, usually for little to no recognition. Others have a higher profile, but work diligently, day in and day out, for their cause.

One of the 2015 Impact 25 Awards winners was Rosie Batty, tireless campaigner against domestic violence. There were more than 280 people nominated from a diverse range of professions and 13,000 votes were cast to select the winner.

To win, the nominee must embody the four core values sought: integrity, initiative, foresight and collaboration.

Who will you nominate?

Take a good look around at the people working with you. Consider your paid staff but also remember your volunteers. Rarely will any of these people be considered for an award despite their achievements. Impact 25 is the award that wants to change that; to bring attention to the people who deserve recognition.

You may nominate up to three people and be sure to include your reasons for the nomination.

Nominations close 14 November.

You can find out more about the awards here and make your nominations here.

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female-850599_640If you have considered volunteering for the charity you support, you probably have one or more reasons to do so. While one of the most common reasons why people become volunteers is to try and make a difference by committing their time, helping a charity offers many other benefits – meeting new people and making friends, spending your time in a pleasurable manner (especially if you volunteer to do something you enjoy) and, of course, gaining valuable experience, all of which can help significantly boost your career.

When it comes to volunteering in a field that is closely related to your area of study or work, the experience you gain can be crucial for finding a job or progressing in your career. While you are not usually getting paid for your hours of volunteer work, it is still a serious, relevant work that will boost your experience, provide you with knowledge of the particular industry and with lots of insight into how things are done.

Of course, volunteering is often about working in team – a skill every employer will appreciate. However, while excelling at team work, volunteers are often expected to be responsible on their own, and to learn to be self-organised, initiative and motivated. Volunteering can teach you all that – after all, it will be your part- or full-time job for a certain period of time, during which you will be expected to apply your relevant knowledge to the ongoing tasks and projects and to do your best in what you have decided to help with.

In addition to teaching you transferable skills and providing you with extensive knowledge and experience, volunteering can also help you make important connections – both within the field you plan to work in and in other fields. Have in mind that when applying for a job, you will usually be asked to provide one or two names who can write a reference upon request. Therefore, if you perform well at your chosen NFP or charity, you might easily find that well-known specialists in the area you are working will be happy to give you a reference because they have worked with you on a certain project and are satisfied with your work. Remember that well-established professionals and leaders in their field often spend some time volunteering or working pro bono, so being a volunteer yourself might help you meet such people and turn them into important connections.

All in all, volunteering can really boost your career. It can provide you with the necessary work experience and knowledge to improve your CV, meet you with people who can guide you and help you progress in your chosen field, and teach you valuable skills like time-management, self-organisation and discipline. However, have in mind that, in order for volunteering to be a useful and enjoyable experience, you will need to like what you are doing – so choose wisely. When choosing an organisation to volunteer for and your role within it, think if it is what you actually want to do and if you will be able to do your best while spending your time at it. If not – maybe you need to spend more time looking for a volunteering position. Happy volunteering in 2016!

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The “holiday season” is almost upon us and while many are looking at it with enthusiasm, many are also wondering how they’re going to spend this time.

There is also often an overwhelming desire to give at this period of the year, but there is only so much that can be done in the way of purchasing goats for relatives, or donating dollars to the deserving.

Thank You on Dry Erase BoardWhatever your reason for doing so, there are plenty of ways to give back to the community, without emptying your bank account.

Many not for profits and charitable organisations close over the holiday period, and others remain open, but are short staffed as employees and volunteers are taking some time to spend with their families.

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.

Rather than wait until you’re bored (or broke!) to decide to do something, get in early. Starting now will give you the opportunity to visit the organisation, receive an orientation, and learn a bit more about what they’re doing.

Call the places you know of to see what they have available. Places like The Salvation Army are likely to need support during the festive season and will have something for you to do. Other locations like hospitals, Meals on Wheels, or nursing homes will likely appreciate some additional hands. Whether it is to help with services or chat with clients and patients, your presence will be appreciated.

Small NFPs may also be looking for some assistance. They are also likely to appreciate someone with skills in a certain area. It may be helping them to get their administration sorted, or their office organised for the new year.

Do a Google search and start looking for places, or connect with those you know. Ask them what it is they need and work out what it is that you can offer them that will be in both your best interests.

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Portrait Of Kitchen Staff In Homeless ShelterAustralians as a whole, are known for their giving natures, with many Australians reporting that they give both money and time each year to their favourite causes. According to a 2014 report by The Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS), nearly one-third of all adult Australians volunteer hours each year to a non-profit organisation. A 2014 report from Charity Navigator also states that individual donations to non-profits by Australian adults totalled $258.5 billion AUD last year.

With so many individuals giving to charity, you may wonder why your business should donate resources to their community. But, just as many individuals derive several benefits when they give, businesses also reap several rewards when they make the effort to give back. The next time that you are on the fence as to whether or not your business should donate or volunteer for a cause, consider the following three ways that giving back boosts your business.

Giving Builds Stronger Teams and Increases Morale

All of us benefit when we feel that our work is meaningful and makes a difference. When businesses give back to the community, it helps associates to feel as though they are part of something that is bigger.

You can encourage your workforce to increase their giving, and build a stronger team in the process, by offering to match the funds that they give as individuals. Increase morale and introduce a fun competitive element by placing workers on teams that compete to raise or donate the most to the cause.

Don’t forget to offer special recognition or a reward for the team that volunteer the most time or raises the most funds. By working together to help others, your associates forge bonds of trust and mutual respect with one another that they will carry back to the workplace. Greater harmony, cooperating and job satisfaction is often the result.

Volunteering Provides Opportunities to Learn New Things

When you and your associates assist your community through volunteer work, you gain an opportunity to discover different perspectives as well as to learn new skills. This is especially true when the volunteer work that you and your workforce perform is significantly different from the regular duties that you perform in the workplace.

Volunteer work often places you and your associates in a different environment, so it is a great way to shake up routines and help everyone to start to think in new and creative ways. Learning new skills and boosting creativity can all lead to innovation in processes when you and your team return to your business.

Just Like Life, Business is About Building Connections and Having Fun

By stepping out of your normal routines and habits through volunteer work, you give yourself and your associates the opportunity to connect with others in the community. You not only improve your company’s reputation within your community, but you also increase the pride and connection that both workers and clients feel for your business.

Donating time, money and other resources to your favourite cause is also the perfect way to show just what you and your business value and will help to draw others to you and your business that share your values.

As you and your associates take the time to give back on the corporate level, don’t be surprised if you find that you are having fun! Embrace the energy and use it to help you and the other members of your organisation stay motivated to keep pushing towards your goals!

With so many benefits to be gained when your business gives back to the community, it’s easy to see why the adage of “it’s better to give than receive” continues to ring true!  If it seems as though your associates are stuck in a rut and your business is struggling to get everyone on the same page, then it’s time to boost your business by giving back!

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People volunteer for a wide number of reasons that may include helping out the community, assisting with a cause through a charity, becoming a board member of a local community organisation, learning about something new as well as offering your expertise to support others.  Whatever the reason, often the benefits are significant not only from a direct and positive outcome for the organisation or people you are assisting but for your own personal development.

Consider some of the benefits:

  • Allows you to develop new skills or even provides an opportunity to maintain or even develop existing skills.
  • Sometimes it is difficult to get experience so volunteering provides a great way to get a foot in the door into a particular industry and even within a specific organisation you want to work in.  This can be ideal when looking for a new job or trying to make a career change.
  • Provides a great opportunity to develop your personal and professional network.  If running a business you may be able to make referrals or receive referrals from these people.
  • You are most likely volunteering because you want to make a difference and this in itself can have a positive outcome on your health and wellbeing.  Your personal satisfaction, self-esteem and sense of fulfilment will grow and studies have shown that volunteering can improve your health especially if coping with an illness.
  • Volunteering provides a great counter balance if you have a busy lifestyle, especially if you have a demanding job.  In some cases it can help put things in perspective and result in appreciating the other side of life and the people you are assisting by getting an understanding of their circumstances.
  • Volunteering often brings people together from diverse and cultural backgrounds that you may not have been exposed to in your regular day to day activity.  This not only includes people from different countries but people with disabilities.

The above represents only a few areas of personal development you can obtain through volunteering but there are so many more.  One of the great outcomes of volunteering is that you are often receiving a level of accomplishment, achievement or personal satisfaction that you otherwise may not be able to gain in your day to day activities – and at the same time the community is gaining as well.

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