4 tips for those who want to do volunteer work but don't know how.
Tell me something: when you think of volunteer work, what comes to mind?
Chances are you have thought of people teaching English to children. Or else, a job to bring resources to a socially and economically vulnerable community.
These are, in fact, voluntary jobs. But they are not the only ways to help, collaboratively, in a cause.
You can, for example, work in the financial sector of some social institution. Or plan and execute posts for an organization's social network.
I mean, all activities can be turned into volunteer work. They just have the characteristics for it.
Well, the purpose of this article is to reflect on what voluntary work is and, especially, to indicate a path for those who want to develop this type of work and still don't know how .
What is volunteer work?
First of all, it is important to understand what volunteer work is .
According to Law nº 9.608/98, voluntary work is any “ non-remunerated activity provided by an individual to a public entity of any nature, or to a non-profit private institution ”.
In other words, they are activities carried out spontaneously, without the purpose of obtaining financial compensation.
That is, to have characteristics of a volunteer, the work must be:
- Voluntary indeed—that is, not imposed and without any consideration;
- Provided by one person in isolation;
- Intended for a governmental (of any type) or private entity (as long as it is non-profit).
More than that, volunteer work is making time and effort available to serve a cause . That is why, in general, these are activities that have some social impact.
However, one point is very important: the fact that there is no financial consideration does not mean, in any way, that volunteer work does not require commitment and responsibility.
On the contrary. Together with the concept of volunteer work, the idea of collaboration arises — which means a union to do or produce something together.
In other words, collaboration presupposes the partnership of two or more people who are committed to the possibility of doing something.
So, despite being free, volunteer work demands commitment and responsibility to act collaboratively for a cause.
Types of volunteer work
As you already know, all activities can turn into volunteer work.
In practice, there can be jobs in all different areas: health, education, communication, gastronomy, psychology and so on.
That is, there can be infinite types of volunteer work. However, the main ones are:
- In the health area — voluntary assistance from dentists, doctors, nurses, speech therapists, physiotherapists;
- Animal rescue and care;
- Actions for the preservation and care of the environment;
- Education — from tutoring, language teaching to artistic skills (painting, theater, dance, embroidery, crochet…);
- Gastronomy — gastronomy workshops, production of food to distribute to homeless people;
- Psychology — voluntary psychological assistance;
- Entertainment and leisure for children and the elderly;
- Institutional communication and marketing actions;
- Design activities;
- Programming actions and technology development.
online volunteer work
It is nothing new that, after the Covid-19 pandemic, the remote model has gained space in all activities very quickly.
And it was no different with volunteer work. This format conquered many people who wanted to do voluntary work, but — due to physical distance or time, they could not.
After all, online volunteer work offers greater flexibility of schedules. But it also generates previously difficult possibilities, such as, for example, living in one region of the country and doing volunteer work in another.
Of course, online volunteer work tends to have a different level of contact with people. And, not always, they manage to be as “ hands-on ” as in the face-to-face model.
However, it opened doors to develop other activities, which previously were not done voluntarily. Such as, for example, the technological development of websites, e-commerce and digital products.
Furthermore, there are people and organizations in need of the most varied actions and in all parts of the world.
The possibility of working in this format, without needing your own home, is a great and beneficial idea for all parties involved.
What are the benefits of doing volunteer work?
First of all, it's important to keep in mind that the benefits of doing volunteer work go far beyond what we can imagine.
After all, each person's ( and each job's ) experiences are unique and personal. So lessons and learnings vary for each person.
And, in fact, they usually reach much deeper and more special aspects than the activity itself presupposes.
Thus, it is not exaggerated to assume that volunteer work is a way to develop self-awareness. There is even scientific research confirming that this type of work helps to recover mental health.
In addition, without a doubt, volunteer work develops understanding about different ways of living, respect and empathy with other people, collective thinking and the ability to work in a group.
However, there are also some more practical aspects. For starters, volunteer work can be included on your resume and on LinkedIn.
In other words, it is a way of enriching professional experiences and creating a type of differential that stands out in companies' selection processes.
Still, it's an opportunity to put some kind of work or skill into practice. I mean, it also serves to develop one's professional skills and develop experiences.
How to put volunteer work on your resume
How you include volunteer work on your resume depends on a few factors. Among them, the main ones are the specific characteristics of the area you work in and how you want to convey this message.
Some people create a special section titled “ volunteer experience ” or “ volunteer work ”. Other people prefer to include their own professional experiences, just making it clear that it was voluntary work.
The important thing, however, is to inform the institution for which you worked and what position and functions you performed in that experience.
Assertively and objectively, you can tell a little more about how that job relates to the position you are looking for and what you learned or developed with that job.
How to put volunteer work on LinkedIn
To include your experience with volunteer work on LinkedIn, just follow these steps:
- First, click on the edit your profile area.
- Then click on the “ add section ” button and select “ volunteering experience ”;
- Afterwards, you will have to click on “ add volunteering experience ”;
- And then, the fields with the experience information will appear. Just fill them in carefully and click on “ save ”.
Furthermore, it is important to consider some practical tips:
- Ideally, your volunteering experience should tie into your work experience, but it's okay if it doesn't;
- Don't skimp on details when writing about your duties and the roles you've played.
- Inform the relevant information or data of the work (that is not unduly exposing any person). You can, for example, count how much money you raised with a campaign or how many students you taught.
- Dedicate yourself to telling more about what you learned from the experiences. Pay special attention to the relational skills you've developed — be sure to count if you've taken on a leadership role, for example.
How to do volunteer work
There are many different ways to do volunteer work. Here are my tips for those who want to do volunteer work, but still don't know how:
Start with what you already have
The first tip is: start with what you can do.
Even if it's little and it's still not exactly what you dream of doing. Even if you can only dedicate 1 hour a week to the activity, ensure that the work will be done with responsibility and commitment.
Choose an activity to develop
Furthermore, you will need to choose an area to work in. Usually, people look for something related to the profession, so they have more to offer ( and also experiences to develop ).
Ultimately, this is an opportunity to learn and benefit professionally.
However, you can also choose to develop some activity related to a hobby. If you can, why not combine the useful with the pleasant, right?
Choose an organization to work with
The next step is to look for a reliable institution that is in need for the activities you can offer.
In that case, you should opt for something that is affordable. Many people choose to go on a volunteer work trip. Thus, they combine work with the experience of getting to know a new place and culture.
But, as you already know, you can do volunteer work in your own region or online. As a last resort, you can do good for someone ( and for yourself! ) without leaving home.
Get in touch with the organization
Ready! After you choose, contact the organization and see what is needed to get involved in the activities.
Institutions usually have a specific place on their websites for people who want to do volunteer work. Or, search for some phone and email contact.
Don't forget to introduce yourself, tell us a little about who you are and what your intentions are, and especially how you can contribute.
How to help Hai Africa?
If you've already made the decision to do volunteer work and are just looking for the institution, you've come to the right place.
Volunteer work is an action you perform without wanting anything in return. It's serving others, as a way of saying thank you for the privileges you have in life. It is a way of making a social impact and transforming the lives of vulnerable people.
Hai África is a non-profit organization that was born in 2015 after a volunteer trip to Africa.
On May 4, 2015, in a small house in Kabiria (a region on the outskirts of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya), founder Mariana opened Hai's doors to provide meals and creative activities for 13 children from the community — the maximum number welcomed in her initial budget.
Currently, Hai is a center that is part of the transformation of the Kabiria community, promoting the development of women through new professional training and of children through humanized education and healthy nutrition. Hai also supports the local economy by making all of its purchases in the community's own businesses.
Over the years, Hai África has become a center that serves more than 40 children (our “babies”), has 6 local employees, generates income and gives opportunities to 15 women (affectionately known as ''mamas''), finances the education of 3 teachers and the continuing education of 66 children in primary school.
If you are interested in Hai's story, you can help in the following ways:
- You can make cash donations and sponsor children from R$20. The donation is secure and credited monthly.
- You can donate clothes, shoes, furniture and household items or buy them at the Hai bazaar.
- You can volunteer at Hai and be welcomed with open arms and encouraged to explore your unique abilities.
- You can invite Hai to join your event and share stories of impact and transformation.
- You can become a Hai partner organization and unify efforts to achieve common goals.
So, how can you help boost the transformation that Hai África has already started?Text written by volunteer Beatriz Coelho. Thanks Bea <3