If everyone volunteered, the world would be a better place.
Can you imagine a world where over eight billion people are volunteering in big ways and small?
5 December marks International Volunteer Day, and I believe in the power and value of volunteering.
I began volunteering early in my career. At that time, I knew I wanted to give back to the community and help others just as I had received support, encouragement, and feedback from others along the way.
As I was caring for a young and growing family and running a business simultaneously, I needed to find a way to contribute meaningfully and sustainably.
I wondered about the commitment required and how it would all fit in. But, as I have discovered time and again, this is often a matter of knowing what you want to do and why, and then committing to it. Once you decide, you will find a way to accommodate your priorities.
Volunteerism brings enrichment to both the giver and receiver. As a volunteer, I too learn and grow as a result of the process and journey with others on their paths.
How I contribute
As a writer and editor, I offer free support and resources to those in need of assistance with article writing, resume development, and charting their career path.
As the founder of Thrive meetups, I have been organising meetups since 2017 to provide women with a safe space to learn, connect and grow.
As a volunteer consultant with Project Placed, I assist Australians currently out of work in finding their next role by optimising their LinkedIn profiles and resumes.
In my capacity as a volunteer mentor with Canberra Women in Business, I embark on a six-month journey with a mentee at a time.
Did you know that most volunteer work continues to be arranged informally between individuals, with 14.3% of the global population participating, while 6.5% of working-age people worldwide engage in formal volunteering?
What volunteering has taught me is that, while I may consider some of the ways in which I provide support or assistance to be insignificant or minor, to the receiving party, it may not necessarily be so. Matching support and assistance with an individual with a deep need can have a massive impact on them. New skills and knowledge can be gained, there may be a renewed sense of purpose or a revived interest in an issue. You may contribute to shedding light on a troubling issue or shift a perspective through volunteering activities.
As a volunteer who chooses to use her skills and experience in these ways, I also gain in terms of refining my abilities and learning from the interactions I have.
In truth, volunteering has expanded my network, introduced me to new relationships, and surprised me by providing so much more than I anticipated. I strongly recommend giving it a try, whether you choose to do it regularly or as your schedule allows.
Cover image courtesy UN IWD website free resources