Working Voluntarily; Who Wants That?

20th August 2022

Written by Emma Harty

Volunteering is a strange thing. Why would someone living in the chaotic and time-stretched modern world want to give up their leisure time to do extra labour for free? It’s completely irrational! But around the world, people do exactly this and volunteer every day. These people choose to give some of their free time over watching a few more hours of Netflix or perhaps getting in a longer snooze on a Saturday morning. So why do people choose to volunteer and what do they get out of it?

Community

Volunteering is not a lonesome activity but rather a group of volunteers forms a tight-knit community to achieve a common goal. Volunteer communities often have a diverse range of members which helps you to settle in and feel welcome no matter your background. Volunteering can help you find a group you belong in, which is particularly beneficial if you are new to the area and looking for new friends.

Gain experience and build skills

Volunteering gives you the chance to gain experience in certain fields such as NGOs, education, sustainable and inclusive development, poverty reduction etc. In any volunteer organisation, you can develop countless skills including: time management, leadership, time management, communication, emotional intelligence and problem solving. Some people worry that a lack of experience will cause them to struggle as a volunteer. However, this is often not the case. In most organisations, there will always be people available to help guide you and a volunteer will never be tasked with anything they do not feel comfortable with. Many volunteer groups are grassroots organisations, meaning volunteers are always involved in decision making. This sometimes makes it possible to combine your university studies or day job skills with volunteering, which can be great for your CV.

Networking

Through volunteering, you can expand your network with a diverse crowd who all want to make the world a better place. In their day jobs, volunteers work in a huge number of sectors. For example, at MoMo education, we have volunteers in data and technology, education, marketing, human development and documentary filmmaking, just to name a few. 

Flexibility

It is a common fear among people that volunteering will take up all of the little free time you have. However, this is a real misconception. Volunteering often is extremely flexible: the tasks you do can be easily moulded to your schedule and there is an abundance of volunteer opportunities online. During busy periods in your life, it may also possible to take a short break from volunteering whilst you focus on other tasks. You can also always ask for help, extensions or a lower workload. 

Health

Volunteering is great for both your mental and physical health, keeping you younger, fitter, happier and healthier. According to Western Connecticut State University, volunteering can increase self esteem, lower risk for depression and improve your physical health.

So it turns out volunteering is not that irrational after all! Volunteering is an opportunity for people to give back to the community whilst also seeking emotional, health and social benefits for themselves. Would also like to to experience the benefits of volunteering and build your networking and professional skills? Then take a look at the website of the Vrijwlligers Centrale Amsterdam (ACV) or go directly to momoeducation.org.

About the Author

Julia Strijland

Documentary filmmaker and social entrepreneur with a passion for education.

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