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Working with Volunteers

Today is #internationalvolunteerday – a day for recognising and celebrating the contribution of volunteers to society. I thought I’d write a little bit about this as I work with volunteers. I’m a volunteer coordinator part time for 2 charity organisations. This means I recruit, train and supervise volunteers and it is something I love doing. Why?

Volunteers are so passionate

The volunteers I work with all really care about the causes they are giving time for. It’s not like managing employees who hate their jobs and only turn up because they need to pay bills. So many volunteers that I work with put in more effort than is ever asked of them because they are so passionate about making a difference in the world. That is a really great and energising attitude to be around.

Volunteers make a huge difference

There are things that happen in my places of work purely because people give their time and skills to the organisation. There are so many events and projects that simply could not happen due to staff restrictions. Volunteers do not always realise the value of their contribution but they have the potential to really make an impact in ways that staff simply cannot. For example, the mental health charity I work for really values that power of peer support and much of this is provided by trained volunteers. They are often very modest about their contributions so need reminding about how brilliant their work is.

Imagine a world without volunteers

Whether people are volunteering their time picking up litter or befriending the elderly, the time they give is so valuable. It is estimated that 12.7 million people volunteer in England at least once a month. If they all stopped, there are a lot of services and events that would also stop. That’s one of the reasons we need volunteers and why we need to show them how deeply appreciated they are. Volunteers make a difference to lives and also to the economy. There are a huge number of charities that are run entirely by volunteers, their work would stop completely if volunteering stopped.

Volunteers make me hopeful

All of the volunteers that I work with give me hope about the world. They are incredibly skilled and reliable. When everything in the world looks like rubbish, I’ll have a meeting with some volunteers and their positive manner and drive around what they are doing makes my heart happy. They are an example that there are still people in the world who care.

I love working with volunteers and hope to be able to continue doing so for as long as possible. Say thank you to your volunteers today, be proud of yourself if you are a volunteer. The world is a better place thanks to you.

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