Skilled volunteering is one of the most impactful and rewarding ways to give back to your community, but often when we tell people this, the response we get is: ‘I don’t have any specialist skills!’. And to that we say, nonsense!
The thing is, you don’t need to be an expert, or be the best at something, to make a big impact for a small charity. And in fact, volunteering is actually a great way to try something new and develop skills you didn’t even know you had.
Skilled volunteering could be as simple as taking the skills you use every day at work and using them to help a charity in need. For example, a lot of the charities we work with focus every bit of spare time and resource they have on the needs of their beneficiaries, often at the cost of upgrading their own systems. Many of them really appreciate support from web developers to update outdated websites or advice from marketing pros who can support them to get a solid, budget-friendly strategy in place.
But using your professional skills for good doesn’t always need to be so cut and dried. Try to think laterally about the kind of skills your career may have helped you to develop. For example, one of our volunteers is a lawyer. Dealing with clients and colleagues every day means that she has great listening and communication skills, which she uses in her role as a volunteer befriender. Soft skills are often just as vital to a volunteering role.
However, her job requires that these skills be used in a very solutions-based manner, an approach that does not suit the requirements of a befriender role. Using her professional skills in a different way has been a satisfying challenge for this volunteer, who said she ‘felt like she was making a difference, however small, in someone’s life’.
But it’s not just your professional skills that can be valuable to a non-profit organisation; hobbies can be a great source of transferrable skills too! Think about what you love to do outside of work, and chances are that you could take that passion and apply it to a volunteer role. Your hobbies, talents and interests could be of great value to a charity or social enterprise – everything from sports, arts, cooking and gardening could be their next great project! Think about how you can use your passions to make a difference in your local community by taking part in skilled volunteering.
Are you a total gym-buff in your free time? Could you help a community sports group with their activities or support a local care home to create an accessible exercise routine?
Do you love to have a craft project on the go? Is there a local children’s charity that could benefit from your enthusiasm and creativity?
Amateur photographer, musician, writer? Contribute blog posts or images to your favourite cause’s website, help them organise an open mic night, perform for their beneficiaries… there is so much you can do!
If you consider yourself a jack of all trades and a master of none then that makes you the perfect volunteer. (But masters and specialists are always appreciated too!)
Read more for a little extra inspiration about the kind of unusual volunteering roles you might find on the Social Good Connect platform, or to find out how we can help get you and your company started with skilled employee volunteering, book a call with Sarah to learn more!
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