Volunteering can offer so many wonderful opportunities to people from all walks of life and let’s face it, there are so many charities and causes screaming out for help on a regular basis – there are well over 1000 voluntary ran organisations in Northamptonshire alone. However, when does volunteering become a thankless task rather then time to make a difference to others or gain valuable work/life experience?
Volunteering is great when both parties get something out of it. The charity or organisation having much-needed resource but limited finance and the volunteer giving something back; it can also provide work skills which may help transition Into employment.
Many people choose to volunteer for an abundance of reasons; they wish to gain experience for a specific sector they would like to work in in the future, they have perhaps been touched by the kindness and generosity of a particular charity that they would like to be able to do the same for someone else, maybe they have retired or have some time on their hands and would like to make a valuable contribution to society or their local community. Whatever it is, volunteers should be seen as a valuable asset that allows a cause to run smoothly and effectively.
Unfortunately, some organisations take their volunteers for granted demanding a workload of them that really is overwhelming or they are so full of their own importance they send out messages that working for them is such an accolade, that you will be considered for roles within the organisation,but when does this kind of volunteering verge on exploitation? There are a number of occupations where you need sector-specific experience which includes medicine, heritage, charities and aid, libraries, working with vulnerable children and adults and so forth to gain a foothold in these sectors but is this fair; surely you should be paid?
Unless you are financially affluent and have no financial worries often you can only volunteer outside working hours which is great but frequently the opportunities to volunteer in the field of a hoped-for career are not available for a few hours here and there. These occupations are then only open to a selected few and do not reflect diversity or equality. If the role is really a proper all-embracing role with responsibilities pay people to learn.
Johnson Underwood is currently supporting Age UK Northamptonshire as our Charity of the Year. If you would like to find out more about volunteering opportunities or previous charity work we have been involved with, please visit: https://www.johnsonunderwood.co.uk/charity-support/