Simply put, for your own sake! In the ultimate analysis, all volunteering, done consistently with a sincere commitment, benefits us as much, if not more, as the intended beneficiaries. How so?
- In a world where we usually focus only on accumulating things (benefits, wealth, even knowledge), the experience of “giving” your time, your skills, your knowledge to help someone who needs it, can be delightful. Just try volunteering for any cause that you like to support, with a spirit of “giving”, no expectations of any kind of returns and check it out yourself.
- When we invest time in helping others, we help ourselves too. It helps strengthen our own character. It helps us grow as human beings. We develop empathy, we develop humility and most of all, we develop a sense of gratitude.
- Volunteering can help change our outlook from a deficit mindset to an abundance mindset.
- Volunteering gives us a sense of fulfilment and freedom.
- Volunteering uplifts us beyond our narrow and mundane daily routine. It brings forth perspectives that normally elude us in our constant rush of our career and jobs. In a way, volunteering provides counterbalance to our skewed and unharmonious lives.
- Each of the attributes listed above can help us become a better human being, a better leader in our lives.
Am I not too young and inexperienced for volunteering? Well, it does not matter how much or how little you know, what matters is the spirit of giving. There are always people who need help. You have come to this level because people have helped you, with or without your knowing. The world would not be what it is unless there is a strong network of well-meaning people holding each other’s hand. When we volunteer, we focus on our positive side.
When is a good time to start volunteering? Anytime, actually. It is incorrect to think that volunteering can be undertaken only when you retire or when you have a lot of time and possibly money. You can volunteer at any time and in any manner that you may feel is right for you. There are numerous examples where people celebrate their success in life, at work or business by giving back to their communities or by helping others. Again, there are many examples where people, facing failures and difficulties in their lives, found strength and self-belief through activities that involved helping others.
How much time should be devoted to volunteering? Only as much as you can comfortably devote on a consistent basis, In the beginning, it is a good idea to devote either one day a month or 2h per week for volunteering. Like all new activities, give it time to find its rhythm in your life. It is important to remember that volunteering is a commitment of help from you to the person receiving help from you. So, commit only as much as you can consistently give in terms of time and effort. Over -committing and under-delivering is not a good idea in any work; the same applies in volunteering too.
Some suggestions for volunteering with Gramonnati Through our Udyam Programs, we are developing rural youth, women and ex-soldiers to be entrepreneurs i.e. helping them become a job-creator rather than a job-seeker. Currently, for our trainees in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, we are looking for volunteers for:
- Mentoring for these aspiring boys and girls from rural / small town background …. for leadership development, life-skills, running small projects at school / village level. A typical mentor should take up mentoring one or two trainees over a period of one year, spending about 1-2 h per week for the entire duration.
- Sessions on counselling trainees and students of village schools on how to learn and do well in their academics.
- Helping us design, develop and deliver trainings English speaking, digital literacy, digital financial literacy, project management, hands-on innovation and so on.
- Helping us with program management in our various programs.
- Training students in technology skills like – networking, IT Administration, information security, using internet for self-learning, using managing social media tools for our projects and so on.
- Helping us with innovative / creative ideas and trainings for rural youth.