How to get the most out of your time as a corporate volunteer
4 March 2021 at 12:44 pm
We speak to Volunteering Australia on how you can do the most as a volunteer
Corporate volunteering is a great way to not only help charities run their programs and have more impact but to develop skills, build relationships, and give back to your community.
But you need to make sure that you’re putting your skills to good use so that you are getting something out of the program, and so is the charity.
It’s why we sat down with the CEO of Volunteering Australia, Mark Pearce, to ask for some advice on how to be the best kind of corporate volunteer.
Hey Marc! So what are some of the ways corporate volunteers can make the most out of their time at a charity?
Understanding the mission is important. It’s not critical, but it makes a difference for the charity, and perhaps most importantly, for the enjoyment of the volunteering role itself.
It’s always important to remember that volunteering is a two-way street, there is a benefit for the organisation and the community by extension, but there is also a huge benefit for the volunteers themselves. And it’s one of those things that’s often forgotten about or not considered as highly. But this is where, if you understand the mission of the organisation, you will harness the mental health benefits that come from volunteering as well.
How important is it for the corporate volunteer to be passionate about the mission of the charity they are volunteering for?
I think that we would all love [to be] in a utopian society where the people who volunteer are passionate about the organisation. And it’s great if that’s the case, but we know from the paid labour force that most people aren’t passionate about the jobs they do. They do the job, they do a good job, and they contribute to the betterment of the organisation. It’s no different for the unpaid, volunteering, labour force. So the volunteers don’t have to be passionate about it, but they need to see the benefits that accrue as a consequence of their volunteering.
Is it important that corporate volunteers apply their skill sets to a volunteering program?
I think that highly skilled-based volunteering has an enormous place and it’s perhaps somewhat untapped within the part of the world that looks for skilled volunteers. But it’s not to say that you can’t have a person sitting in a highly skilled, highly professional role who may well contribute more by just doing some of the day-to-day tasks, which is so difficult to get done by other people.
So it’s great if you’ve got people with legal, accounting, management, or scientific skills to help an organisation achieve its mission, but that doesn’t mean those people should be pigeonholed into only doing those things for a volunteering organisation.