Volunteering is an activity that is beneficial and enriching to both you and the people you are helping. You can volunteer in many different ways in your community, and some of them you do remotely if that is what you prefer during this time. However, before people get involved with volunteering, sometimes there are misconceptions about what it entails and how it helps. Let’s debunk various myths people have about volunteering.
First, some may assume that volunteering is easy. Some forms of volunteering might be simpler than others, but some volunteer work requires a lot of effort. If you are volunteering through an organization, they will often have most organizational aspects planned out. Still, depending on your position, there are a couple of questions you should ask yourself before beginning your volunteer work. These include: “How many hours per week?” and “How is communication carried out amongst team members?”. Next, do not assume that all volunteering requires a minimal amount of time. Some volunteer campaigns start at a couple of hours per week and grow into you spending weekends and evenings working for the organization due to an expanding volume of help needed. Make sure a volunteer opportunity fits your career and life schedule before joining, so it does not grow into a stressor for you.
Along with this, do not assume that commitment is flexible. When you commit to serving a community, you have to go through with it because people rely on you sometimes for grave matters. If you do not fulfill your responsibilities as a volunteer, it can damage the organization’s reputation and negatively affect many people. Additionally, do not assume that communication is always easy. Communicating with volunteers can be complex because people have different schedules and availability. Ensure you have a preferred method of communication and set times you can be reached, and make this information available to the organization.
One huge myth about volunteering is that only the organization will benefit. Before signing yourself up as a volunteer, make sure you understand how accepting this position will help you achieve some personal goals. Ask yourself questions such as “What can I learn?” and “Do the values of this organization align with mine?” Lastly, if you become overwhelmed, don’t be scared that there is no way out. If you realize you cannot commit the way you thought you would be, it is better for you to have an exit strategy than to perform poorly for the organization.