Why Should I Volunteer?
People realise that one way to nudge ahead of the competition is through volunteer work...Go and find a non-profit organisation that needs help and build a skills set while doing some good.
Volunteering experience used to be an after-thought on a candidate’s CV – maybe it got a quick mention in the hobbies section but now this is changing. More and more employers from a range of fields are starting to consider volunteer work when evaluating potential candidates for jobs.
LinkedIn, the professional networking site for students, academics and business professionals, added a highly requested volunteering section in September 2011. This allowed members to list their volunteering experience as part of their main profile, which can be viewed by peers and potential employers. This came after a survey found that 41% of employers said that they consider volunteer work to be just as important as paid work. A further 20% said they had made a hiring decision based on a candidate’s volunteer work.
Krista Canfield is a spokeswoman for LinkedIn. She said: “People realise that one way to nudge ahead of the competition is through volunteer work. In this economy, you don’t have to sit on the couch. Go and find a non-profit organisation that needs help and build a skills set while doing some good.”
There is also evidence to suggest that volunteering can directly lead to paid positions. According to a 2009 survey by the National Center for Charitable Statistics, nonprofit organisations accounted for 9% of jobs and 5.4% of the country’s gross domestic product.
Volunteering is a great way to build up your CV before you graduate – you can log some of those all-important Futures Award hours. Volunteering also gives you an opportunity to positively contribute to a worthwhile cause. There is no downside!
The University holds some great events throughout the academic year, which help students gain access to a wide variety of volunteering organisations. These operate at local, national and international levels – there is something for everyone. The University held a two day Volunteering Fair from 4th to 5th November at the Kedleston Road site. The Volunteering Fair takes place every year and is open to both students and staff.
I spoke to some students about the fair. Alice Crawford, who is a third year student, said: “It’s nice to see volunteers of all ages and from a variety of organisations.”
Another student, Avini Paul, added: “The fair was very informative and made it easy to get involved in volunteering.”
As well as many well-known charities such as Save the Children, the British Heart Foundation and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), there were a huge variety of local charities present including Déda dance studio, Women’s Work and Umbrella.
Performing arts charity Déda dance studio was one of many participants. They are a unique performing arts charity working in Derby and they need volunteers to help with their youth and community programmes. Their aim is to improve access to the arts; however this isn’t just a volunteering opportunity for performing arts students. Déda also have placements and internships, which include events coordination, public relations and audience development.
Women’s Work is a Derbyshire based charity, which aims to help vulnerable women in the local area through a combination of informative and educational workshops, group leisure activities, accredited awareness programmes, confidence and assertiveness courses, counselling, and one-to-one support sessions. This charity works with women and girls of all ages, and aims to help those who are most at risk.
Women’s Work is an award winning charity. They are currently looking for a drop-in Volunteer Project Support Worker and a Volunteer Admin Support Worker. Both of these roles require a commitment of only two hours per week.
Another Derbyshire based charity that is interested in recruiting student volunteers from the University is Umbrella. This is a charity dedicated to empowering disabled children, young adults and supporting their families. Umbrella does this by providing youth clubs, parent and career support sessions, and school holiday play schemes. Activities and services such as these allow opportunities for networking and socialising for families, who may sometimes feel very isolated. Volunteering for Umbrella could involve anything from roller-skating, swimming and craft-making to bowling. In return you will gain training, support and invaluable experience, which may help you in the future when you’re applying for a job.
If you missed the fair at Kedleston Road earlier this month, you can go on to the University’s website where you will find a list of charities that attended and links to their websites. Alternatively, you can go along to the next Volunteering Fair on 28th January 2016 in the Atrium at Kedleston Road. This fair will have more of an international focus. The Think Global fair will run between 10am-2pm and host a number of charities and businesses looking to recruit volunteers, as well as students, who are interested in volunteering and studying abroad.