There was a huge humanitarian response to the Tsunami of the Indian Ocean, triggered by the earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, on December 26, 2004. You would have witnessed on news channels that 230,000 people were killed and tens of thousands injured and millions homeless. Many countries had pledged millions of dollars to medical and military support in the form of doctors and engineering teams together with volunteers from NGOs. The immediate response to this natural disaster were the volunteers who got themselves on the field to help the affected. In such situation, volunteers are the best group of people on whom one can rely upon.
What Does Volunteering Mean?
Volunteering is a selfless activity that involves individuals or a group of individuals providing services to benefit another individual or group of individual without any financial gains. The benefit is to improve quality of human life and to promote goodness. It could be in the form of providing support to the medical teams or a cleanup process or a rescue operation or setting up homes. The volunteers are persons who voluntarily offer themselves for the service they intend to take part in and performs without any pay.
Generally, volunteers get trained in the areas they intend to take up like providing education, providing medical aid, or taking part in emergency rescue. But on the whole, volunteering offers benefits of gaining knowledge with new skills, enhancing their career prospects, fulfilling ones inner soul needs, developing one’s self-esteem, helping to connect with the community at large and bringing mental satisfaction.
What are the Different Types of Volunteering?
1. Volunteering in service learning:
This type of volunteering is evident in many educational facilities where it allows students to serve the community through the process of volunteering. As a means of earning credit is attached to this type to promote it among students to prepare them for the future. Moreover, it is said to mould caring and responsible citizens pledging them to serve society. The educational institutions intend to merge academic study with service of the community through their relations with the agency. It’s a mutual benefit wherein the student gets to gain knowledge from service agency and the community gains the skills, intelligence, energy and commitment. Studies indicate that involving youth in volunteering in service learning makes them to engage with their mind and soul. They participate with enthusiasm and learn better than traditional methods.
2. Volunteering using skills:
This kind of volunteering is to utilize the skilled personnel as they have the necessary talent to enhance the capacity of the infrastructure. These activities are centered towards non-profit groups to sustain and achieve their goals. When compared with the normal volunteering work where the skill is not utilized, this type of volunteering is valued higher.
3. Volunteering in developing communities:
Countries that are on the developing mode require help in many ways to enhance their community. Many youngsters opt for volunteering in such countries to work on projects identified to teach English, work with orphanages, assist non-governmental organizations, medical aid, treating specific disease and bringing awareness on various socio-economic topics. This type of volunteers from international communities enhances the skills and knowledge of the participants, adding benefit to society and thereby the community.
4. Online volunteering:
It is also termed as e-volunteering or virtual volunteering. The tasks are done partly or wholly by off-site volunteers who assist the organization. Their means or mode of working is the internet or internet connected device placed at home or school or work center. There are various types of service like tele-monitoring, tele-tutoring are done without any pay when compared with online work.
5. Volunteering in emergencies:
Natural calamities creates displacement and havoc to the communities affected by it. It could be in the form of earthquake, tsunami, floods, mud slides, forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, cyclones, etc. For the society to recover, volunteers are the first sought after who provide the care and immediate response to the relief operations. Non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations, and United Nations send in their volunteers who organize food, shelter and reconstruction. In fact, they are like mediators who pool resources from social media and seek assistance.
6. Volunteering in schools:
Educational gaps and economically backward schools look forward to this type of volunteering. It requires selfless effort to bring intangible rewards to the school that do not have proper infrastructure and faculty to teach. Volunteering in such categories is sure to add an additional skill in your resume and help to gain relevant experience. These volunteers learn the culture and the language of the place they do service. In addition, these students have the benefit of teaching in schools filling the gap of teachers. The teaching process involves the exchange of language and culture that gives a lot of experience for the volunteers and students.
7. Volunteering for community:
It refers to work towards supporting community or involved in making improvement to community. For example, participate in recreation activity or sports match, participating in building for the local area, participating in non-governmental organizations local area awareness campaigns, etc. Activities are also organized through church and local governmental authorities.
8. Volunteering for corporate:
It is considered as one way for the corporate to contribute to society through its greatest assets, their employees. By doing so, a positive impact is created in the communities through engaging the employees that generates opportunities for better teams. Employee volunteers are encouraged to participate for enhancing social responsibility and bringing sustainability. Even donations are granted to NGOs to recognize them. The corporate business benefits through this process as they enhance their brand image, reputation, create loyalty and retain employees to reach their goals.
9. Volunteering for the environment:
Environmental issues are mostly organized through volunteers who conduct many activities for preserving the environment. Those activities are mostly related to restoring ecological balance especially removing weeds and planting vegetation, monitoring of environmental aspects, protecting endangered species and bringing awareness to public and communities about preserving the natural habitat.
This type of volunteering involves completing short term tasks that benefits a cause. It can be done at home or on the spot where there is no involvement of long term commitment, or training or process to apply. Some examples like stitch dresses to raise funds for rescue operations, playing quiz to raise funds for the hungry, participating in a computer game to donate food for the needy or donate a small percentage while making a purchase online, etc.
Benefits of Volunteering Work:
Being a part of a volunteering activity and participating in it brings joy and self-satisfaction. Allocating time and effort for helping others is a wonderful aspect we are able to witness the impact on the beneficiary. It could be getting a home renovated, clean the garbage on the street, provide food for the street children, provide home for the elderly, take care of the homeless, the list goes on. At the end, it’s wonderful to see the thankfulness in their eyes and the smile on their faces. More than this, there are many other hidden benefits that you can now look for. Let’s see what it could be.
Personal Benefits of Volunteering:
a. Get a new job:
Volunteer work, whether it is on the field work or virtual, helps one to enhance their skill set improving their job profile making them more confident. Besides, they build new networks, which help them to be referenced for another job. Adding this quality to their resume is sure to catch the eyes of the interviewer as well. Take a dip in volunteering and see the difference it makes!
b. Boost own job:
Through corporate volunteering programs, the employees has means of taking the lead in their work area and shine. Studies have shown that today’s volunteers are considered as tomorrow leaders as they would have participated in team activities. So if you are employee of corporate, lend your hand to volunteer to see the change in your profile!
c. Gain new skills:
Going through volunteering itself is a new experience that allows the individual to learn new things. Participating in those activates of which you are interested in or for the sake of involving, makes you to learn. The process of learning is not only in classrooms, but by physically involving in the social work. See the change in yourself through expanding your knowledge!
d. Understand team building:
Most of the volunteering work involves working with different sectors of community and different type of people. Involving oneself with different members, promotes working together for a cause. Thereby, the motive of the cause is fulfilled by working as teams. Participate in a cause and find out the way members interact and bond to build a team. Want to learn about team building, join a volunteer activity and build your skill!
e. Get fulfillment:
The word volunteering is part of social work and involves exploring one’s interests and passions. Through this fun filled activity one attains fulfillment. Volunteering helps a person to relax and energize themselves. It brings them out from boredom of day-to-day activities and other personal commitments. It provides creativity to mind, motivating to look out for higher goals in life. Find your life fulfillment through involving yourself in volunteering!
f. Enhance self-confidence:
Being a volunteer boosts one’s self esteem and is a healthy booster for self-confidence. Playing the role as volunteer brings a sense of pride as you are doing well for others making you feel good about yourself. It enhances positive look on life and future goals. Boost up your self-confidence by participating in one event in volunteer service!
Health Benefits of Volunteering:
a. Reduce stress:
As volunteering in any section of society involves with community at large, it is one means of connecting with people in their daily lives. Coming out from the comfort zone of the real world would make you understand what life has to offer. Besides, there is inner self satisfaction by seeing through accomplishment or saving a life or rebuild a home. Experience the spiritual lift by volunteering!
b. Stay physically active:
Working as volunteer involves physical work unless it is virtual volunteering work. By going out to field work, working with people and participating in activities is more related to physical work keeping your mind active as well. In due course of time, you would love to work physically as it keeps you fit. By doing so, such people tend to live longer. Stay physically active by volunteering!
Social Benefits of Volunteering:
a. Connect with others:
Volunteering activity is a mode where the introvert would become extrovert making the person more social. It is one way where people get connected with those sharing same thoughts. Learning to cope with the other members and tolerating them is also one more added feature. But the most important criteria is that you can connect with many of different categories helping you to learn more. Want to be extrovert, join volunteering!
b. Gain new friends:
Through sharing activities of volunteer, a person gains new friends and has a chance to meet new people. Besides, it is one way of connecting with the community, thus expanding the network of like-minded people. It also brings closer people of different communities together. Did not get new friends, then join a volunteer program and see whom you find!
Volunteering is an activity which involves individual or group of individuals for a common cause to benefit other community. It is said to enhance a person’s skill or invoke one to enhance their skills through the process of doing good. It also has positive benefits for the volunteer that has been elaborated. The social skills of the volunteer are improved, making him/her to get new friends, boost their job profile and even get ahead in their career. Moreover, participating in a cause makes a person to be mentally satisfied relieving his stress. But in due course of time, volunteers get trained in their field of work, be it medicine, education, natural disaster or emergency rescue operation.