8 Surprisingly Awful Secrets That You Must Know Now Before You Volunteer.
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
There was a survey conducted in Japan in the year 2021. It said the weekly average spent on volunteering was about two minutes per day. There was a decrease compared to four minutes per day five years prior.
Volunteering is a noble act. It’s the highest form of respect. It’s a way of giving back to society.
Despite so many benefits associated with volunteering, there is a gradual drop in it.
This made me write an article about the same.
In this blog post, we will cover
What is volunteering? Who can volunteer?
5 benefits of volunteering.
8 awful secrets about volunteering that you probably didn’t know?
My personal opinion about volunteering.
What is volunteering? Who can volunteer?
The Cambridge English dictionary defines a volunteer this way. A person who does something, especially helping other people, willingly and without being forced or paid to do it.
Two words are to be taken seriously in this definition. One is willing. Two, without being forced or paid to do it.
That being said, volunteering is an act of helping society by taking part in social causes.
Some of the causes are animal cruelty, and women and child healthcare. Creating awareness about diseases, planting more trees, scribing for blind students, etc.
There are a lot more causes whereby small acts of kindness will make the world a better place to live in.
Anyone who has a big heart and is concerned about the environment can volunteer. The good news is that there is no age bar.
Check out the nearest Non-Government or Non-Profit Organization near your place. Most importantly check the cause that they work for.
The cause might act as a catalyst for you to like or dislike volunteering in the long run.
What are the benefits of volunteering?
1) Firstly, there are many different areas of volunteering.
You can choose to volunteer based on the skill set that you have or that you want to build.
With the era of the internet and technology, volunteering can happen virtually too.
Virtually you can volunteer for writing blogs, promotions, digital marketing, video editing, etc.
The world is full of opportunities for those who are willing to see.
You do not have to be in a specific geographical area to volunteer.
2) Volunteering can help you build a better personality.
By volunteering, you become more giving and empathetic.
You learn to respect each other and work in a group.
It can make you kind, become more grateful, and overall leave a positive impact on your mental health.
3) You can make many new friends and join a strong network.
Through volunteering, you meet many people with diverse backgrounds having various interests. You get to work for a common cause amongst this diversity. Having people from different backgrounds can only make your network stronger.
4) Higher level of inner motivation to help others.
Volunteering can drive you to help people more. By helping others, you can feel more fulfilled. The joy that a regular job cannot give you can be found in volunteering.
Volunteering can make you feel good about yourself.
5) Volunteering can help make the world a better place to live in.
Volunteering can give you a chance to give back to this world. Doesn’t have to be huge.
Through volunteering, you will realize that kindness leaves a huge impact on people.
Now, volunteering isn’t fun for everyone.
Unfortunately, many organizations aren’t to be trusted. Some organizations are genuinely working for a cause. That doesn’t cover the darker side of volunteering.
There was a study conducted in Turkey. The University students said that the organizations aren’t trustworthy. So, they had to think twice before volunteering.
“I DO NOT TRUST THESE ORGANIZATIONS!” WHY UNIVERSITY STUDENTS DO NOT VOLUNTEER IN TURKEY?
Needless to say, Volunteering can in turn affect someone’s mental health.
Here are 8 tips for you. You need to be prepared about these before starting volunteering.
(I wish someone had told me earlier about these too)
What are the 8 awful secrets about volunteering?
1) Your time isn’t respected always.
By volunteering you are willing to give your time to a cause. You are well aware that the time that you give unfortunately doesn’t come back. When the organization wants you to perform a certain set of tasks. Sometimes (not always) your time can be taken for granted.
This especially happens when the organization works with a lesser number of volunteers. Every weekend might go for volunteering. It may also leave you feeling exhausted and tired. It’s always better to be prepared for these as well.
I repeat, these need not happen always but it’s worth a mention too.
2) Not always do you get the appreciation you deserve.
Not every student steps into a voluntary body expecting a return. But unfortunately, some students step into volunteering hoping they get some appreciation. What must be a fun-filled activity might turn into a necessary competition.
Also, some organizations are kind to give the volunteers certificates for their time. But not every organization does these.
In my opinion, it’s not a wrong idea to give a testimonial or a certificate as a reward for their time spent.
So, next time before you step into an organization, make sure to check these as well.
3) Some organizations have poor conflict resolution.
It’s time to get real and honest here. An organization has volunteers from different backgrounds, having a vast diversity. Misunderstandings are bound to occur. We are only human. It need not be an intentional act but it’s always wiser to check who the founders of the organization are.
A healthy conflict resolution where both parties are served justice is the best place to be in.
4) Time-consuming and it can leave you under real stress.
This goes without saying. Volunteering means you’re giving a part of your time to a cause. Doing that often at the cost of neglecting your health can leave you feeling stressed.
Taking care of yourself first isn’t a bad idea always.
Volunteering is meant to make you feel good. Not the other way around.
5) You may lose associations with the family in the acts of service.
What if every weekend you are stepping out of your home to volunteer?
What would happen to people in your home who would expect that you would spend the weekend with them?
What if you cannot attend family gatherings because you are passionate to volunteer?
Once or twice is still understandable. If it becomes a pattern, this can become a serious issue that must be fixed!
Again, this doesn’t happen every time but it’s always better to be prepared for the worst.
6) Values change with time
It’s not always necessary that organizations work for the same goal always. I mean, for decades together.
The cause for which they are working today might change in the next 2 years. The reason could be anything. New issues that demand attention may be a reason for changing the vision of an organization.
What I mean to say is this. Today an organization working for animal welfare can take up child safety in the next year.
So, it’s time to take a pause and reflect upon this. Working for social causes is always there. If you’re working for a specific cause then, you need to adapt to these changes.
7) Not all organizations have policies around confidentiality.
Not many organizations have strict policies about confidentiality.
This is especially true when photography is concerned.
Many people tend to click pictures where they are not supposed to.
Posting on social media is another entity in itself that needs to be concerned about. What pictures are allowed to be posted and what is not need to be specified clearly.
Volunteers need to know that volunteering isn’t a way to showcase to the world their service. Especially if people in the photograph do not consent for the same.
8) Volunteering demands confidence. Don’t choose to walk the road ahead with mental blocks.
Volunteers should be mentally strong and confident in what they choose to do. If you feel that you are not good at communication, service, and treating others with respect. Then, volunteering isn’t for you.
Build your confidence. Get more clarity and then choose to volunteer.
My personal opinion:
I know many people reading this article might disagree with me. However, I still feel the urge to make things clear.
Volunteering is not for everyone. If you want to volunteer please double-check with the organization. Know their terms and conditions. Know their policies and causes.
Know what’s in it for you. Know if people respect your time. Get to know how things work there and then start volunteering.
Volunteering is meant to make you feel good and not the other way around.
There are millions of people living in this world. Only people with bigger hearts will volunteer.
Volunteering is a choice. It’s always a choice!
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