What can volunteering do for you?

Karen Bristow
29 Jul 2019

What can volunteering do for you?

We’ve long been told it’s better to give than to receive. It is, after all, a profound act of kindness.

And Australians know this. We are by nature a generous bunch. According to the 2018 World Giving Index, a global measure of donations, volunteering and generosity based on an annual representative survey of individuals in 146 countries―Australia ranks second on the list of most giving countries.

So, it’s probably not surprising to hear that around six million1 people in Australia volunteer their time for a myriad of causes, events and groups. Why? Because for many, it not only offers an opportunity to give, but also allows us to meet people, get personally involved in a cause and be emotionally rewarded for the experience.

We know many members of our Wise community are already dedicating their time to causes, associations and clubs they are passionate about. But if you’re looking for inspiration about when and where you may be able to volunteer, be sure to speak with other Wise members at our next event or browse through some of our profiles and Q&A pieces on the blog. You can also consider the following:

School reading groups

Most primary schools have reading programs where parents or helpers are encouraged to come into the classroom for regular sessions and assist with children’s reading. However, with many parents working full time and unable to commit to a regular session, more schools are welcoming the assistance of grandparents as well, offering a hands-on way to contribute to a child’s education.

Sporting events

Whether it’s an event of Olympic proportions, such as the Sydney 2000 Games, or simply a local sporting tournament, volunteer helpers can make or break an event’s success. Roles including venue helpers, administrators, scorers, umpires, team managers and coaches can all offer regular, or one-off opportunities to get involved in supporting the healthy pursuits of others.

Charity clothing shop

With op shops now being the ‘new black’, there has been a rising interest in what charity seconds stores have to offer. And with the heavy reliance on a roster of volunteers, this provides a nice chance to work with people and fashion. What’s not to like!

Working with charities

With more than 54,000 registered charities2 in Australia, you can well and truly take your pick when deciding who you want to support and how you might want to get involved. You may choose to work with people directly in need, go in-house, or go out into the community to support a charity. But regardless of how you decide to help, when you choose a cause you feel passionate about and team up with others that feel the same, the collective impact can be life-changing for everyone.

Environmental groups

Beyond Clean up Australia Day held in March, there are a growing number of groups working diligently year-round to make the world and our country a better place. From local bush regeneration groups, to Landcare-led programs, climate change and conservation groups, as well as those dedicated to preserving specific flora and fauna, there are many ways you can get your hands dirty.

Community radio stations

Being surrounded by music of your choice and an interesting mix of interview subjects, there’s an obvious appeal for being involved with your local community radio station, with an average of 74 volunteers per station in Australia.3 Not only does this offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in the bustle of all that radio has to offer, but you can do it with like-minded people.

Meals on Wheels

For the many older Australians and variety of people with special needs that rely on this service for regular meals each week, this largely volunteer-run service is not simply about just delivering meals―but is so much more. The companionship that arrives with each visit often delivers just as much goodness as the meals. You can contact the organisation in your state to make enquiries.

Hospitals

For anyone who’s ever been in an emergency department and been offered a cup of tea by a roving volunteer, you will be familiar with the angelic nature of their role. They play an integral part in helping to relieve the pressure on staff by keeping patients entertained with different activities or just by having a chat with them and their families. You can make enquiries through your local hospital.

Serve on a community board

If you have the relevant professional skills and qualifications to put to use by serving on a community or charity board, what better way to give back than by donating your time and expertise to help steer the direction and strategy for an organisation.

There is an almost endless list of volunteering options to suit people of all ages and skill levels. So, if you’re still looking for ideas, you can go to the Volunteering Australia website and register to search for volunteering roles currently available. Everyone has something to offer.

1: Volunteering Australia
2: Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission
3: Community Broadcasting Association of Australia

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