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The Joy of Volunteering Part 3 — The Benefits of Being a Volunteer
June 22, 2017

View the video transcript in English [PDF 187kB].

By Mimshach Obioha, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, and Celestina Obiekea, YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa–Accra Participant

Before you decide on how and where you will volunteer, it is important to have thought through three key questions. Why do you want to volunteer? What volunteer opportunity best fits your career or best fit with your other goals? And how will you maximize the potential in every volunteering experience?

In our experience, volunteering is not something people always seem enthusiastic about — it can often appear like a nice way of saying “work for no reward.” However, this is far from what good volunteering actually is. The reason a lot of people think this way is that they often think all reward has to come in the form of a paycheck. Understanding, therefore, that not all reward has to be monetary is really the first major step to making the best out of every volunteer experience. Realize the worth of some of the soft or other skills you will learn — people pay a lot of money to be taught.

However, let us also emphasize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting paid for your skills. In fact, it is highly recommended. However, there are various reasons for volunteering, some of which are listed below:

  • A pause in between jobs.
  • Wanting to gain experience in a new field.
  • A way of putting spare time to good use.

Whatever your reasons, knowing how to get the best out of every volunteer experience is a necessity. There are a lot of people who have built their professional careers through volunteering.

An excellent way to appreciate the business of volunteering is to first understand how to get the best out of every volunteering experience.