Generally, volunteerism can be described as the act of giving without expecting anything in return. It is one of the most basic of expressions of our humanness. One that has developed throughout history and tradition, anchored on the value of sharing and community-building.
And at its core are relationships and their potential to enhance the well-being of our peers and communities. Social cohesion and trust, for example, thrive where volunteerism is prevalent.
Volunteerism is not only the backbone of society, but also of many health, education, housing and environmental programmes. It is an integral part of every society, one that should be cultivated and developed.
And you, regardless of race, status or background, could partake in forwarding positive change in many ways through the different types and roles of volunteering. You could work behind the scenes, providing support from your laptop or through the processing of paper works, or you could go out into the fields, being directly exposed to the rich soil beneath your feet or feeding the homeless and vulnerable. Of course, you can always take both options and volunteer in more ways than one.
To help you understand more about volunteering, here are the main volunteer roles you could choose from:
Marketing and/or Administrative Work
Administrative work is the foundation of every organization before it can properly operate and reach its goals. If writing proposals, correspondences, connecting with partners, sponsors, and stakeholders is your interest, then being an office support staff is for you. And if papers may seem boring or not that adventurous, it helps to remember that there are a lot of interesting things about staff work that lies beyond papers such as meeting new people, sharing your ideas and jumpstarting movements or initiatives. You could also be responsible for producing content for your volunteer group or a project, serving under a communications or marketing team.
It may no longer be an overstatement to say that volunteer work for the environment is one of the most important roles one could take today. Often, environmental work is concerned with climate change campaigns, cleanup drives, animal protection and care, and many other environment-related undertakings. You could partake in an advocacy project to stop carbon emissions or innovate ways toward a more eco-friendly age––an age painted green by collective action.
Children and Young People
If people, young people to be specific, interests you, whether taking up the responsibility as a volunteer teacher for underprivileged communities or creating support groups for the struggling youth, then you could volunteer for children and young people. Here, you could be a mentor, a facilitator for workshops, or supporting physically or emotionally challenged children.
Elderly and disabled
And if one could serve the young, one could also serve the elderly and disabled––volunteer opportunities as simple as listening to their lifelong stories or catering to their special needs. For, as we all know, time has its ways of delivering challenges, and some of the elderly and disabled are not always fortunate. It helps, both spiritually and emotionally, to be their support group as they face everyday challenges.
Education could be, in many cases, exclusive or a privilege despite it being a basic human right. Some young people, and even adults and elderly, do not have access to quality education, whether it is because of their economic status or geographical location. Hence, volunteering for education entails teaching and reaching out to the underprivileged and poor. It is providing them the opportunity to grow pass their disposition and realize greater things. For education is the greatest equalizer.
Leadership and Governance
Leadership and governance volunteer work is often leaning towards providing organizational support or workshops on proper management, the essence of leadership, and the value of governance. This could also mean volunteer opportunities for office work or serving as a support staff to local government units or the national government.
If doing intensive reading and processing is a suit that best fits you, then research work may be for it. Often a behind-the-scenes work, researching entails the responsibility to ensure that your organization makes well-informed decisions that is backed up by data and the insights of experts. Research is also crucial in properly delivering volunteer work, that before one can implement an initiative, it must be done in due consideration of the people, place, condition, and time––one that is sorted out by research work.
Of course there are many more specific kinds of volunteer work out there. These are just some of the popular ones. Others can be technical or particular such as infrastructure, healthcare, and science, other types and roles can be vocational such as that of legal services or engineering-related volunteering.
Regardless of what one chooses, the value of giving one’s time and effort is what truly defines a genuine act of volunteering––one that can manifest in so many ways, but means only one thing: giving and not expecting anything in return.