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A rookie’s guide to volunteering

By cristina | Permalink | No Comments | September 17th, 2010 | Trackback

I must admit that my volunteering days started as the organizer of a cultural event (“Reading in the City”). It was interesting and downright fun, although the planning did make my weekends go away as fast as they arrived.

Still, that’s not “real volunteering”. Let me be clearer… for me, “real volunteering” means to look for cheap flights to Africa right after you searched the list of possible projects you can help with. It means connecting with locals in other parts of the world and trying to make their lives better.

Any guide to volunteering will tell you think carefully before you embark in such an adventure because it’s a “ride in the park” and it certainly doesn’t mean luxury accommodation, high-end meals and spas.

Here are some easy steps to take before you start the adventure:

  • Know exactly what you want. Typically, a year volunteering for a well-known project gets you a lot of good points with the next employer. Plus, you need to know exactly what you want to do while you volunteer.
  • Start searching for projects. You can plan a vacation mixed in with volunteering or focus on volunteering. There are a lot of websites which focus on these projects, so allow quite a lot of time to tackle this.
  • Choose wisely and start planning. Research the location, the organizations involved, anything which can show a real light on what’s going on during the volunteering period.

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