Undercurrent Masthead
VolunteerFeature

It’s National Volunteer Week!

Jessica Schumann

In 2010, 6.1 million people (36%) of the Australian population aged 18 years and over participated in voluntary work.

On average, Australians spend 713 million hours per year volunteering their time with non-for-profits, charity organisations, festivals, events and sporting clubs — just because. Without volunteers many of the things we take for granted, like that sausage sizzle at Bunnings on the weekends or the end of season sporting trip to bond with the team, wouldn’t be possible. So this week we honour those who give up their evenings after work and weekends to make it all happen with National Volunteer Week — a time to reflect on the importance of our volunteer workforce. Kicking off yesterday, National Volunteer Week runs until Saturday 17 May with the theme Give Happy, Live Happy and local organisation Volunteering ACT are encouraging Canberrans to find out more about volunteering at today’s Volunteering Open Day. But if you can’t make it, here’s 10 more ways to get involved and five reasons why you should volunteer this year.

10 ways to get involved in volunteering

  • Do what you love! Find a volunteering role which you would describe as your ‘dream job.’ With over 240 vacant volunteering roles in Canberra there is bound to be one for you! (Head to Volunteering ACT to search for your perfect opportunity)
  • Connect with a local not for profit organisation. Today Volunteering ACT is hosting a Volunteering Open Day where 19 organisations are opening their doors to recruit volunteers across an array of programs.
  • Do something with friends. If you are a social butterfly there are a range of volunteering roles that you can do with your friends, family and significant others. Event volunteering can be especially good for this.
  • Just try it! If you have never volunteered it means you may have never felt what we like to call the ‘helpers high’. It’s the release of endorphins you get when helping other. Search for ‘short term’ opportunities to get a taste of what it’s all about.
  • Make time. Time is the biggest barrier to volunteering here in the Capital region, at the end of the day we all need to make it a priority to Give Happy and Live Happy. Make time, or combine it with something else in your schedule (see the dot point above and do something with friends!)
  • Talk to someone. We often ask our friends and family to recommend a good movie or restaurant. Take a similar tact to ask about their volunteering experiences. If all else fails, call Volunteering ACT and make an appointment to get some ideas off them.
  • Search far and wide! There are a range of platforms you can search for the variety of volunteering roles available some key sites are Volunteering ACT and Go Volunteer.
  • Do your research. If you are interested in supporting a specific cause, type of organisation or activity, jump online and research what’s out there and what people are saying about it.
  • Promote yourself. Set up a Skilled Volunteer Profile to promote your skills to local volunteering organisations and let them pitch a position you.
  • Get outside your comfort zone. You’ve talked about it, you’ve thought about it, now throw yourself in the deep end!

5 reasons to volunteer

  • 95% of volunteers say that volunteering is related to feelings of wellbeing (it literally makes you happier!)
  • Give back to the community that has given you so much
  • Learn new skills, make new friends and get out of your comfort zone
  • Sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health
  • Volunteers are healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer!

Volunteering ACT will also be hosting the 2015 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards, proudly sponsored by Beyond Bank Australia. With a record number of nominations this year across eight different categories, the Awards are the premier recognition and thanks event for Canberra’s volunteers. It’s the biggest event of the year and the perfect opportunity to say thank you to the 37% of the Canberra population that dedicate themselves to the service of others. This year’s prestigious event is being held at the AIS Arena and with a record number of nominations it promises to be one to remember. If you have a volunteer workforce that deserves recognition bring them along to the Awards ceremony and help us celebrate the people in Canberra that make our community a better place. This event is proudly sponsored by Beyond Bank Australia.

This National Volunteer Week keep up with all the action by following the #NVW15 and #GiveHappyLiveHappy and don’t forget to tag us in your posts and tweets! @VolunteeringACT @VolACT

The essentials

What: 2015 ACT Volunteer of the Year Awards
When: 5.30pm-7.30pm, Thursday 14 May
Where: AIS Arena, Leverrier Crescent Bruce.
Web: www.volunteeringact.org.au

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

user

Jessica Schumann

A 'rambling ranga' at heart, Jessica Schumann is a bubbly, creative social thinker who thrives on words, social media and an innate knack for sharing stories. When she finds the time to write, Jessica seeks out the beauty in change and the essence of human condition. Varied and diverse in nature, her writing delves into the enviable world of people, travel, food and culture. When you can't find her in a nook writing, just follow your nose and you’ll soon find Jessica indulging in her other passion – cooking – or curled up on the couch with a good book in hand. You can find her over at ramblingranga.com.au. More about the Author

Media Bootcamp November Leaderboard