It was recently National Volunteer Week (16 to 22 May) and today we take a look at the benefits of volunteering and how you can get involved.
Volunteering is doing unpaid work for an organisation or charity and is a great way to make a positive impact while you participate in the community. It can also provide the opportunity to help you develop relationships, learn new skills and find a pathway to employment.
Signing up to become a volunteer has a lot of benefits. It can be heaps of fun and gives you the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. It can also help you increase self-confidence, break out of your comfort zone and bring a new sense of purpose to your life.
Things to consider before you volunteer.
There are many different types of volunteer roles. Make sure you have all the information about the role before you make a commitment so you can be sure it will suit your interests and is in line with your personal goals. Here are some important questions to consider:
Is there a specific organisation or cause that you want to support?
Animal lovers may want to volunteer for an animal shelter. If you want to help the environment you could volunteer to help clean up a local park or beach.
Are there existing skills you want to use or new skills you want to develop?
If you’re great with computers you could help other people improve their computer literacy. Aspiring chefs could volunteer at a community kitchen.
What interests you about volunteering?
If you want to meet new people then make sure to find a role that involves group work. Do you want to spend your time indoors or outdoors? Being active or sitting? Would you like to transition into a paid role once you gain experience?
It is just as important to consider logistical factors like how you will get to and from the volunteering location and the amount of time you can dedicate to volunteering.
Some important things to consider:
- What tasks are involved
- If previous knowledge or training is required
- What transportation options are available
- If it is a short term or long term position
- How many hours do you need to commit to
- If you will be alone, in a pair, or in a group
- If the organisation can accommodate your needs.
A fun and fulfilling experience.
Volunteering can be a great experience, however it’s important that you do your research, plan ahead and be upfront about what you need in order to succeed as a volunteer.
You may already have an idea of an organisation or a cause you’d like to support. If that’s the case you can contact the organisation, find out what volunteer roles are available and discuss which are best suited to you.
Volunteering and the NDIS.
Assistance with Social and Community Participation is a budget under the NDIS Core supports category. You may be able to use this funding for assistance to participate in activities such as volunteering. The support category is now officially called Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation. You may be able to use this funding to pay for a support worker to attend volunteering activities with you.
For more information on how to get the most out of this budget category, take a look at our recently updated article: Assistance with Social and Community Participation.
Not sure where to start?
Speak with the Leap in! Crew to find out how you could incorporate volunteer work into your NDIS Plan.