Volunteering: the Core Elements
The core elements of science are observation, measurement, testing and publishing your findings for the sake of replication. This got us thinking; Can we use this same method to help people become better volunteers? If so, what are the core elements of volunteering?
When you’re approaching volunteerism for the first time, make a list of goals that you want to accomplish as a volunteer. Perhaps you want to go on a specific number of trips this year or you want to learn a new skill. Whatever the goal is, write it down. Now, figure out which organization aligns with your volunteer goals and set up a meet and greet. Don’t procrastinate! Get to know the organization and share your personal volunteer goals with them. Work out a plan for getting started.
Once you’ve gone on that volunteer trip, observe how volunteering makes you feel. How does volunteering contribute to your mental, physical and spiritual health? Pay careful attention to what happens when you try something new (such as traveling to a new volunteer location or supporting a new organization) and figure out how the experience affects you. Finding some way to process your volunteer trip is key to this step.
If the results of your volunteer trip were good, repeat it. If the results were not what you hoped for, try something new. Whatever you do, don’t give on up volunteering. Go back to step number one and attempt a new volunteer project. You won’t regret it!