Become a More Valuable Volunteer: 5 Practical Ways
If you’re like me, when you volunteer, you want to do the most good in the amount of time you have. Volunteering is a great way to work on your weaknesses or experiment with new experiences. But as a volunteer, it’s important that we set aside our own agenda for the benefit of those we are helping.
Here are 5 practical tips to help you:
1. Take a strengths quiz
And encourage others on your team to do the same!) This may seem over-board, but knowing your strengths and even the strengths of your team will help you know in what capacity to work and who to partner with. As a person who is highly communicative, I work well with those who are highly strategic.
2. If possible, work where you have experience.
This may seem obvious, but I think it’s often tempting to try new things at the expense of really helping the organization or individuals you are volunteering for. For example, I would love to put in sheetrock; it sounds like fun! Do I have any experience? Zip. So, it might be much better for me to be on the painting team, where I know I can help and even help guide others.
3. Communicate best practices.
This goes along with number 2. Often, as a volunteer, it may feel as if you have no voice. In reality, sometimes the people you are working for or with may know less than you do about a certain task they need completed. It never hurts to humbly offer your knowledge on the subject. It may be very appreciated!
4. Ask questions.
Although ideally you can do something you’re really good at (or at least have some experience with) this doesn’t always happen. While volunteering, it’s very likely that at some point someone is going to ask you to do something you don’t know how to do. Ask. It may be embarrassing at first, but it saves the embarrassment, time, and bother of having to correct a mistake later.
5. Be willing.
It’s so great to maximize your volunteer potential by doing something you know you excel at. But essentially, it’s not about you. More than anything, organizations and individuals seek out those who are willing to help in any capacity, willing to be flexible, willing to learn, and willing to give it their very best.
If you’re someone who really wants to help, think about putting these tips to use. And help us brainstorm other beneficial ways an individual can become a more valuable volunteer on Facebook and Twitter!