• January 25th, 2020

Social Reflection: What you stand to gain from volunteering

In a world where money makes the world go round, why volunteer? Why spend your valuable time on an activity that will yield no monetary gain? Why put in the work for an activity that at the end of the day propels an organisation forward that does not look to reimburse your efforts?
Here are a few reasons why you should volunteer;

Build your resume
Time spent volunteering is not time wasted. You stand a better chance of walking into your dream job as a volunteer, and getting the foot in the door. A volunteer does not need a job title, thus no job position needs to be opened up, and in most instances a formal appointment is not needed. Thus, you can get your dream job, but as a volunteer, putting you one step closer to your dreams then you were yesterday. It allows you to have experience on your resume which you may otherwise not have had access to. It provides an opportunity to gain reputable references onto your CV. In some cases it can later convert into a job opportunity. You never know what opportunities may arise when you make yourself available. 

Build your brand
As an individual you are constantly building a brand. This can be as a reputable accountant, marketing officer, etc. The idea is to build a portfolio that sets you apart. In all instances, you must look for a niche as to what sets you apart in your market. This may require additional work outside of your day job to build towards your aspirations. Never be afraid of putting in the hours after work, they prove fruitful at the end of the day. Strategise and build your niche. Work, and work hard if need be.

Build you expertise
As a professional you should always be aspiring to build your expertise and skills in your field. Learning from your everyday job can be enough for some, but for many you need the extra push so as to ensure you maximise on the time spent in any position. Volunteer your skill to SME’s and learn as you go. You building your skill in a smaller company generally allows you to tap into responsibilities otherwise reserved for your seniors at work. Learn on the ground as you volunteer so as to build towards acquiring a set of skills you can apply in the future. Align your goals with your time spent volunteering so as ensure upward growth.

Build your network
Every environment provides for opportunities to meet new people, people from different backgrounds and personalities. Treat every moment spent as a learning opportunity. Network and meet new people and develop relationships. Regardless of stature and influence, you will learn a great deal from everyone you meet. Do not treat people differently in accordance to stature because every person has something to teach you. Treat networking as teaching moments and learn from everyone.

Build your character
Growing as an individual is about perspective. You must look for teachable moments in everything you do. Self-access in all situations and derive what you can learn from every situation. This allows for your character to grow, and thus build character. No one is ever perfect, you will find parts of you that always need development, whether patience, confidence or learning how to work with people of diverse personalities. There is a moment to develop your character in everything you do, you just have to consciously choose to better yourself and work on yourself.
See volunteering for what it is, an opportunity. Shed the ideology that it remains exploitation, because you are money driven and focused. Look at the bigger picture and change your perspective, because you stand to gain more than you stand to lose. Volunteer your time and grow yourself. 
Become a part of the EM Love Foundation – emlovefoundation.org

*Mavis Braga Elias is a Civil Engineer by qualification and a Marketing Officer by profession. A philanthropist of heart and founder of the EM Love Foundation. She won the Vivid Philanthropist award in 2015 and the Queens Leaders Awards 2018. Find her on Twitter -@mavisbraga

Staff Reporter
2019-05-15 12:11:20 | 8 months ago

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