“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Volunteering is hard work but the returns are amazing. Here are top 5 myths clarified so you might deliver on your commitment to volunteer.
Myth #1: I am already so busy/stressed at work, I don’t have time for volunteering
Yes, volunteering will take away time from your daily life, but the gains are well worth the effort. One of the volunteers who visited our center led an extremely stressful life in the Media field. As per him, his first experience with the students was a big eye opener for him. He said this was the first time where he had to dig deep within himself to figure how to connect with the young lot. The usual small talk wouldn’t work, he had to connect to them at a human level. He felt talking to these marginalized youths and understanding their aspirations in life, helped him put his own priorities in perspective. Volunteering if done mindfully can remove stress from its very roots.
Myth #2: Enthusiasm is the most important quality for successful volunteering
Sure enthusiasm is a necessary condition for a successful volunteering experience, but not a sufficient condition. Equally important is persevering with effort. We need to treat volunteering as a project – we need to plan, learn, execute. Too many people who express interest to be volunteer have little or no idea of what they are getting into. We suggest that you take out time to understand how you can help, what challenges you might face and plan accordingly for success.
Myth #3: Volunteering is meaningful only when I work at grassroots
Sometimes we believe that volunteering only means direct interaction with the beneficiaries. As an NGO, we work at many different levels and these require different types of volunteering support. Volunteers who help us with our systems and processes or help with capacity building of the NGO might be doing a far-reaching impact in the long run.
The need is for a mature outlook – then multiple ways of helping a social initiative can be chalked out, through a simple dialogue with those who are running it.
Myth #4: I am trying to help, surely the beneficiaries will like me
As a volunteer, I need to be open to the possibility that I might need multiple interactions with the beneficiaries before a worthwhile engagement materializes. It might be that the marginalized youth and you don’t instantly establish a rapport. These youths have had difficult lives and they may not accept an outsider right away, but once they open up their hearts, the bond is for a life time. If one is sure about sticking to grassroots, then they must learn the patience to see the grass grow.
Myth #5: I have never taught, I would be a terrible volunteer
You could be if you haven’t prepared for your session. Important that you decide first to make a difference and stick to your plan till we reach the goal. We will help you with the rest.
We at NIIT Foundation, have always encouraged volunteers from various fields and have gratitude for all those who have spent time volunteering with us. If you are looking to volunteer and contribute to someone’s future, do reach out to us.