This week (11th – 17th February 2019) is Student Volunteering Week! If you’ve thought about volunteering in the past but not yet done anything about it, SVW is the perfect time to find out more about the volunteering opportunities and how to get involved.
Besides the fact that you’re doing something for a good cause and helping others, there are a whole host of benefits to volunteering. Being a volunteer is a great opportunity for you to develop your skills and experiences which in turn will enhance your employability. Volunteering can also improve your own well-being as you’ll no doubt feel great knowing you’ve done something good for someone or something else.
Whether it’s on or off campus, in the UK or abroad, there are so many opportunities for students to help out and become a volunteer. From working in the local charity shop or mentoring younger adults, to fundraising at university or helping out at the annual half marathon event in your city, there’s something for everyone and all interests. So, how do you find the right volunteering role? Below are three steps to help you on your way:
1. Find something you enjoy
Before you volunteer, you should think about what type of volunteering you want to do. Whether it’s related to the environment, sports, animals, teaching or listening to others, if you’re going to give up your free time to help others, it’s a good idea to be doing something that interests and excites you, or something you feel passionate about. Of course, it doesn’t have to be something you’ve done before, you could try something completely new that you’ve always thought about trying and getting involved with.
2. Are you suited to the role?
There are so many volunteering opportunities out there, but before you commit to any, you will need to consider what skills you can give and how much time you can offer to the cause. You may only want to volunteer on a one-off basis, or perhaps you have more time on your hands and can fit in a few hours a week doing part-time volunteering.
3. Get researching
A good place to start your search for volunteering opportunities is at your university/college or at your students’ union. They will likely have a volunteering programme in place with a variety of projects to choose from which you can fit around your university schedule.
Beyond the university, you can enquire about opportunities within the local community yourself. You could contact places such as the local library, food banks, museums and theatres, youth clubs and sports clubs.
Don’t forget to speak with your family and friends and find out if they can help in any way or point you in the right direction of any connections who can. Perhaps they’ve volunteered themselves in the past or are currently volunteering and therefore may be able to offer advice.
And if all else fails, jump on your computer and search the internet for opportunities. Looking online, you’ll find an endless list of volunteer opportunities both locally and globally. Just be sure that any organisation or opportunity is genuine and worthwhile.
Find out more about Student Volunteering Week 2019.