Action Now: How to start volunteering Lecture at Nesfield International College (PART II)

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How to start? Here few suggestions:

1st: You must like it (fun, a passion, something that comes natural to you)

Start doing something you like, something you are passionate about otherwise it is highly probable that it won’t work, it will be too “burdensome” for you. This is very important because volunteering must be fun. It can be hard, you must give the best of yourself but you need to enjoy it.

So in short choose something you like and possibly something that you think it is fun. Follow your instincts; follow also what you are good at.

2nd: Think what you can do

How much time you have? How can you contribute? Can you do it yourself? Do you need more people involved? Here you need to be realistic and keep your feet on the ground. In life there is always space for big projects and ideas but start small

3rd Is there already anyone doing the same? Can you join an organization doing a similar action? Or you feel you can do on your own, without any support?

It really depends on what you want to do. Volunteering can be a “self help” experience, you see a problem and you start doing something or someone approach you with a request of help and you accept it, you feel you can do it.

For example, you can give coaching class to a child lagging behind. This is your commitment towards the child and her/his family. You feel you are good (here you need to be sincere with yourself) and you do not need anyone, you just started and doing.

But it could happen that you find a cause that requires some sort of expertise, than you start inquiring and you realize that there are already some organizations which are involved in that particular problem. Then why not contacting them and get involved with them? They can offer you trainings and the right capacities to do something good. Here comes the importance of being well prepared.

Do not underestimate yourself but also be realistic

Sometimes it is easy to help someone but oftentimes it is not. Volunteering requires a commitment and you need to be prepared to face challenges. You need to be good at what you want to help for. You might need trainings; you might need reading some books or ask suggestions/feedbacks to some experts.

Starting something from scratch

If you decide to do something from scratch, something new, you need to get organized.

Here some suggestions:

  1. Write down your idea in one page


  1. Share this document with some friends, adults, also family members or experts in order to get inputs and feedback. This is important to understand if what you want to do makes sense



  1. After getting feedbacks, finalize the document, adding more information


  1. Ask yourself: Do I need people? In most of the cases, having people joining forces makes absolute sense. The More the Better. Well it is not always the exactly like this, you need to consider that a) finding people is not easy b) managing people is actually even more difficult



  1. If you feel to do alone, then you can plan everything on yourself but think also at the visibility, think about the power of involving others.


  1. If you are now convinced about the importance of having other people on board, well start thinking on how to “pitch” your idea, how you can “sell” it, how you bring people on board.



  1. You can start with a small circle of friends, max 5 persons but even finding one good person would be excellent. Try to identify persons who are genuinely interested and passionate about your idea. Enthusiasm is always high at the beginning but then it goes down…


  1. Therefore spend enough time to explain what you want to do and then ask them, inquiry about your friends’ real interest. If you know them already, you know their strengths and weaknesses too, you know who is reliable and who is not. If someone does convince you, try to be at the same time sensitive (after all you are all friends) but also clear why it is better him or her not to get involved. In short you need to do a bit of selection and screening


  1. Once you have your team on board, start planning together. It is very important to create ownership among the team members. Assign responsibilities and make everybody feel part of a big thing. Remember you, at least at this level, you are not the BOSS but just a LEADER. There is a quite a difference.


  1. Be clear on the goals and target groups:


What you want to achieve and who you want to help


Ask what you and your team unique contributions to the problem/cause you decided to be involved with. You need to have a clear picture of the problem you want to solve.


Did you make enough research? Did you have a conversation with whom you want to help? Are you really sure you can do something useful or the persons you want to help need your help?


Please be honest with yourself.


  1. Do you need external help? Do you think that other people can contribute a part the persons of your team? Which can of help you need? Advices, suggestions, inputs, help to connect with the persons you want to help?


  1. Do you need/do you want visibility? Ask yourself why you need visibility. If you decide you need it, and then think about how to “advertise” your idea: social media, article on newspapers, contact local officers and politicians, involve journalists.


  1. When you start, you always need to get feedback, ask the beneficiaries about what you and your team did. We need to make sure that any volunteering action is meaningful. So think about ways to monitor and evaluate your work. Do not think things too complex.


  1. Now possibly you are ready to have FUN. ENJOY IT


Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

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