As you get older you become more aware of the problems our generations face, the tragedies that strike or the heartache that follows. With this knowledge comes a responsibility to not only know about the problems, but to actively try to help. What this can mean is very simply choosing which charity to support whether you choose to help with monetary giving or donating your time to volunteer with a specific charity.
So when faced with this decision how do you make the right choice for you?
When I made the decision to begin volunteering it was not because tragedy had worked its way into my life or family nor was it because I felt it was the morally right thing to do in today’s society. For me it was an extremely personal decision that I wanted to be able to look back on my life in 50 years’ time and say I contributed, I made a difference in a person’s life. I didn’t want to look back on my life and say I worked, I made money and that was it.
Once I had made the decision to volunteer then came the arduous task of determining which charity to get involved with. I wasn’t looking for a passive involvement I wanted to volunteer. So I began to research all the different charities in my area. I was astounded at the sheer number of them just in my area. There were cancer charities, children’s charities, charities for animals and charities for overseas assistance. I wanted to help them all but was fully aware that was not a good idea if I wanted to be a valuable contributor.
Helpful hints when deciding on a charity to volunteer with:
- Make a note of all of your interests – what you like to do, your strengths
- Note down all the charities you show some interest in and list there dominant characteristics
- Look at both your lists and make a short list of about 3 – 4
- Contact the charities on your short list to volunteer
- Have a list of questions you want to ask them to get a full understanding of the commitment required with their charity and the type of involvement you will have
- Make your final decision on which charity will suit you and your lifestyle
When choosing your charity to volunteer with make sure you are aware of the commitment you are making. For the last four years I have volunteered with Make-A-Wish Australia Western Sydney Branch. I am now Vice-President for our branch and continually frustrated when people join our branch and then leave after 2 meetings because the commitment is too much or they don’t like having to get donations or fundraising. The charity you choose needs and want your help, so make sure you are confident that this is how you want to contribute.
Volunteering is a very rewarding way to give back to your community and can make the difference in a person’s life.