Volunteering is an act of giving back to the society, to ensure its smooth functioning, and to help shape ourselves as individuals. While active involvement does create a significant impact on the cause we’re working towards, there’s a possibility of overextendingourselves and experiencing a burnout.
Remember, this blog does not intend to discourage you from volunteering. Rather, it explore occasions when volunteering may not be your cup of tea, or when, at the very least, you need to vary your volunteering activities.
1. Don’t volunteer if you face a time constraint. Don’t involve yourself in volunteering if you’re unable todevote the necessary time. Because, your absence or rare presence during key moments or otherwise, may disrupt the smooth functioning of designated activities, and result in other volunteers having to take up additional responsibilities. This is especially important if you have signed up to visit school children or nursing home residents, because, if you’ve met them once or twice, they tend to quickly depend on you and look forward to your visits. As a result, when you don’t show up, they may feel your absence. In essence, it’s better not to offer at all than to let someone down.
2. Decline if you are already over-committed to volunteering. If you are already on a parent’s board, or helping adults learn English, in addition to working full-time, you may be starting to spread yourself too thin. In such circumstances, don’t feel obliged to take on more responsibilities, even if somebody asks you to. Volunteering overload is not good for you, your family or your work performance, and it certainly isn’t good for the organisation you’re volunteering for, because, they can’t rely on your presence. Instead, inform the organisation (you’re volunteering for) about your packed schedule, and remind them that you are open to volunteering in future, when your current obligations have been met. Then again, you do not owe any explanation whatsoever. You can simply say “I am not available”.
3. Avoid volunteering activities for which you don’t have the temperament for: Don’t become a volunteer firefighter if you’re afraid of fire or if you lack physical fitness. And, don’t become a health assistant volunteer if you tend to faint at the sight of blood. Instead, take roles that are better suited for you and leave the rest for others to take up. Alternatively, tell the volunteering organisation what your skills are and let them find a position better suited to your aptitude and interests. It’s far more helpful to devote a few hours in doing something that you can do well, rather than volunteering many hours towards something you’re not suited for.
4. Be careful about taking on volunteer work that is “close to home”. What we mean is, ensure that your personal problems and emotions don’t spill over into your volunteer work, in a way that it impacts negatively upon you. For example, if you have been abused yourself and you have decided to help others who are abused, be absolutely certain that you have worked through issues that are likely to be raised in your role as a volunteer. You don’t want to break down when confronted with an issue that is still very raw for you. This is not to say that you shouldn’t find catharsis in facing the issues head-on through volunteering, but it does mean that you must be strong enough to cope up with your emotions as they are likely to be presented back to you by someone else suffering from it.
5. Be aware of the fact that there are certain stages in your life when volunteering may not be a good option for you. Although temporary, there will beperiods in your life when you’ll have to step down from volunteering. These may include: death of a family member, exam time, birth of a baby, illness and such. Each of these activities rate highly and you are well within your rights to put all your efforts into seeing yourself and your family through the temporary disruption. In time, you will have recovered or moved on from the hard part and be ready to return to helping others. This is about knowing when to let others help you for a short time. On the other hand, volunteering can sometimes be the only reality you have to hang onto, to provide you with stability, such as when you’re going through a divorce or when you’ve lost your job. Carefully weigh your personal, physical and emotional demands as compared to what energy you may have remaining to expend on others; be honest before overdoing things. You’ll be a better volunteer if you take time out to strengthen yourself first.
6. Avoid volunteering for something just because a friend is volunteering. You must care about the cause that you volunteer for; a reason such as “my friend is doing it, so I should too,” is unsound. By all means, join a friend if both of you are truly keen on the work involved, but if you only do it for your friend’s sake, you may end up resenting the volunteer work and perhaps even your friend. In such circumstances, tell the over-enthusiastic friend that you support him or her, but that your volunteering interests are being placed elsewhere.
7. Don’t be bullied, coerced or co-opted into volunteering. It is not unusual to be elected at a meeting which you do not attend, or to be pushed along by a crowd unwilling itself to take on a position that a club/school/organisation needs filled. If you are present at such a vote, strongly vocalise your refusal to take up the position. State clearly that you are not in a position to take up such a responsibility at this point in time. If it happens in your absence, send a gently worded letter refusing the position to the board, setting out brief reasons why you do not accept the nomination. Or, simply say you do not accept. You must want to undertake the volunteer work, otherwise you may face challenges pertaining to time management and other commitments.
8. Question authorities who seek to over-rely on volunteers. If you feel that an organisation or school is asking too much of its volunteers, speak up and say that this work ought to be performed by a paid personnel. In such cases, exercise your letter-writing or phoning skills and ask the school principal, the local municipality or your locally elected member why the funding is so low for certain activities. Additionally, ask that paid employment be considered or additional financing be provided to ease the pressure off of over-worked volunteers.
9. Ensure that volunteering does` not sap your time/ energy/ finances/ good will. If you really want to volunteer but you can’t, think of other ways to help out. If you have the money but no time, donate the money. If you have no money, but have the time, donate your time. If you have neither, donate your messages of goodwill and support. Be creative; even writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper to talk about the good deeds being done by others is a great volunteering exercise, often overlooked by many. Thoughtfulness, praise and encouragement for those who are volunteering is the most important contribution of all.
10. Don’t risk your safety. If you feel unsafe, consult the person in charge and let them know. For example if you are asked to venture into an unfamiliar part of town, late at night and alone, ask that someone go with you. If you are in a building site without a helmet or gloves, ask for safety equipment. Trust your instincts. If you are denied any of the safety precautions you requested, you are within your rights to leave.
11. Be wary of any organization that asks you to pay them in order to volunteer, especially if you are strapped for cash. There are many other worthy organizations out there that do not charge, and will provide more hours for less effort.
12. If you don’t have enough money to get by, then you’re the one who should be benefiting from volunteerism. Some people would rather volunteer than have a job – that’s fine, but if you end up bankrupting family members in order to not have a job, it’s simply unacceptable.
Cross posted from: www.wikihow.com
- First year students of Government Engineering colleges from the following streams:
- Electronics / Instrumentation
- Electronics & Telecommunication
- Information Technology / Computer Science
- Age: Up to 20 years
- Annual family Income: Not more than Rs. 2 lakhs
- SSC: Minimum 60% aggregate
- HSC or equivalent result: Minimum 50% aggregate and minimum 60% PCM aggregate
- JEE Main / State CET: Minimum 45%
Bhumi is not related to this programme in any manner.
- If you want to volunteer, but cannot make a long term commitment, remember that occasional, one-time or short-term commitments can help enormously. For example, donating blood doesn’t take all that long, and you feel good about helping others as well.
- If you are in charge of volunteers, thank them regularly. Don’t expect them to be content with an occasional praise. They don’t have to be there and their resentment can spread, ending a good working relationship or even resulting in dissolution of the organisation or club itself.
- If you need a special skill set, special clothing or any other equipment for carrying out your volunteer work and it has not been provided, demand it. Your safety, health and comfort are as important as that of any paid employee’s.
- Don’t volunteer simply for the credit or bragging rights. Make sure it is something you are capable of doing, and enjoy it.
- Don’t avoid volunteering just because you can’t be bothered. All societies need volunteers who are competent, enthusiastic, available and willing. When you are capable of undertaking volunteer commitments, do so in a flash. There is an enormous trade-off in volunteering that you will only understand when you do it. While the organisation is getting your time and energy for free, you are gaining confidence and satisfaction in doing a good deed, witnessing personal growth, nurturing your character, and perhaps developing a skill set that you would not necessarily get by sticking to you and yours alone. Be open to the world and one day, it just may be you who needs and gets that help in return.
- Don’t volunteer if you are sick. You’re not helping anyone if you end up giving them a cold. This is especially important if you are working in a hospital, or with the elderly, children or people with weakened immune systems.
- Additionally, if you’re chronically sick, don’t volunteer if your illness could worsen by performing volunteer tasks. While some people can still carry out tasks during an illness (and for some, this is even a way of escaping the illness), if there is any possibility that your illness could be worsened by the added strain of volunteering, back down for some time until you feel better. This applies to many illnesses from cancer to chronic fatigue syndrome. You know yourself best – don’t let others “persuade” you into doing something rather than staying at home. Only volunteer your time if you truly feel it won’t harm your recovery and that you have the energy to do so.
- When volunteering, people with varied personalities come together. This is perhaps more so than in a workplace, where certain people come together based on specific skill sets and personality traits. To deal with this, sometimes you’ll need great patience. If things get heated, let people have their say and summarise their position. Later, suggest a compromising path. You don’t want to lose volunteers because of personality clashes, or those that know it all. Often these people will fly in, tell everyone else how to do it and then drop out just as quickly as they arrived. Volunteers that succeed the most are those who stick around for the long haul, who understand what’s happening and who treat each other with respect.
- Be aware of your environment. You may be a tempting target to the underprivileged. Consider taking a friend along if you are in an unfamiliar neighbourhood. Leave valuables behind. Do not show fear. This signals weakness and could be insulting.
Cross posted from: www.wikihow.com
Bhumi, one of India’s largest youth volunteer non-profit organisations is looking for interns for the Hi5 Club project. Hi5 Club is a programme to promote volunteerism among young people. Hi5 Club will reach 10,000 volunteers during this Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving Week) Sep 20 – Oct 10, 2014
Interns: three interns each in HR, Operations & PR (total of nine)
Duration: 2 hours per day for 2 Months.
Certificate will be provided
ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
HR (Human Resources)
- Volunteer recruitment for Hi5 opportunities/events
- Identifying colleges/companies where we can conduct events and recruit volunteers
- Visiting/Calling colleges/companies regarding recruitment and coordinating with college/company representatives regarding activities
- Feedback from volunteers post event
- Identify volunteering opportunities and helping in organising the main anchor events conducted by Bhumi
- Find opportunities for partnering with other NGOs
- Inventory procurement and management
- Monitoring activities, documentation
- Marketing Hi5 club to colleges and companies
- Identify brand ambassadors and sponsors for the event
- Designing posters and other PR material (Good knowledge of Photoshop, Flash etc. desirable)
- Creating promo videos (video shooting/ editing skills desirable)
Nakshatra, Bhumi’s annual inter-children’s home talent festival was conducted by Bhumi on Sunday, 13 July 2014 at MCC Higher Secondary School, Chetpet. The sixth edition of the national talent fest is expected to be bigger and better this year with 6,000 children participating in six cities across India.
The guests of honour at the inaugural at the Chennai event were Mr. Shravan (first runner up at Airtel Super Singer) and Mr. Selva Ganapathy (recipient of the Volunteer Hero Award at the iVolunteer awards 2013). Mr. Aadhavan from Aaditya TV was also present to host his show “Konjam Nadinga Boss” with some of the kids. Mr. Subramaniam, President of the Tamil Nadu Astronomical Association introduced the children to the world of ‘Infinite Space’ and showed stars and planets using a telescope.
The whole event was planned and executed by Bhumi’s young volunteers. Dr.Prahalathan, the co-founder of Bhumi, said “it is definitely a lot of work and there is a framework to be followed, but all this would not be possible without our volunteers”. With more than two months of planning and 200 volunteers, the event steered a crowd of 878 children from 39 shelter homes for 19 different art, literary and cultural competitions like face painting, clay modelling, skit, elocution, story writing etc.
“Being a coordinator has its own blues because of all the last minute changes, but the ecstatic feeling one gets seeing the children happy and witnessing the hard work taking form has no boundaries”, said Aravind Lakshmanan.
While there was lot of excitement rushing throughout the venue, Sonia, a volunteer said “the energy here is coming back like a Frisbee – from the kids to us”, while Ranjani, a volunteer at the help desk said “although I missed the kids performing, all I expect at the end of the day is a smile on their face and a sense of accomplishment within volunteers”.
Who does not like cheering along with the crowd! Boys from Ramakrishna Mission were seen cheering for their team with a drum and trumpet while other kids just danced and supported their teams. Rajkumar, one of the coordinators said “I feel very nostalgic being here, I miss those school days were I experienced that same kind of enthusiasm”.
Nakshatra’s slogan , Dream. Discover. Dazzle. was a motivation for the children while particpating. They were awarded based on performances – while Sevalaya from Thiruninravur was awarded with the Overall Championship Trophy, four other homes including Leo Correya, Siragu, Avvai Home and Indian Council for Child Welfare were awarded trophies for Best Participating home.
The event was sponsored by NTT Data, Plintron and LetzChange.
Bhumi is one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations. Our volunteers work amongst orphaned and underprivileged children in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Telangana, West Bengal and several other parts of the country. The efforts of our volunteer force consisting of over 1,000 students and young professionals under the age of 30 benefit over 15,000 children every year. To volunteer register on www.bhumi.org.in
If you are job hunting, or just looking around for new opportunities, you have probably spent a lot of time recently tending to your LinkedIn profile. Updating your experience. Joining new groups. Building your network. But what if I told you there is something else that you probably aren’t doing which could dramatically increase your odds of getting a job? It’s not about getting a graduate degree, and it’s not even about learning a new skill.
According to the research, the smartest and most often overlooked thing you can do to get ahead in the competitive job market is to start giving back. That’s right. If you want to improve your odds of getting your dream job, it is time to start volunteering.
Here are the facts.
This summer, researchers at the Corporation for National and Community Service, released new findings that tracked the relationship between volunteering and employment for a group of 70,535 respondents over a ten year period.
According to Dr. Chris Spera, CNCS’s Director of Research & Evaluation and one of the authors of the report “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment,“ active volunteers were 27% more likely to get a job than non-volunteers. And the relationship held stable across gender, race, ethnicity, age, location, and unemployment rate. That’s a big difference.
Underlying the findings, Spera and his team believe there is a strong relationship between volunteering and the development of social and human capital — key attributes in today’s most desirable candidates.
The findings echo a recent LinkedIn survey of 2,000 professionals which found that 41% of respondents consider volunteer experience to be as important as work experience for job candidates. The survey also found that 20% of hiring managers have offered jobs based on a candidate’s volunteer experience.
So what are you waiting for? If you need some help getting started come visit us at www.bhumi.org.in. And once you’ve found a great place to volunteer add it to your LinkedIn profile and let the job hunting begin.
(Cross posted: Original article by Greg Baldwin,VolunteerMatch on LinkedIn)
Job Description: Regional Manager, Projects
This requirement is now closed
The Regional Projects Manager is a position of hands-on leadership for a geographic cluster of Bhumi chapters. Experience in the education sector is essential for this role. Team spirit and the ability to build a good rapport with colleagues, coordinators and volunteers are very important. Main responsibilities would include establishing learning centres, setting up volunteering teams and ensuring smooth day-to-day running of projects across the region – Teaching English, vernacular languages, Computers, Mathematics, Science, Mentorship and Talent development of under-privileged children.
Primary responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Lead and help in the implementation of all the projects across the region
- Train or identify suitable trainers and provide a continuous support system for the volunteers
- Ensure project activities comply with the planned objectives
- Periodic centre visits across the region
- Monitor project progress on weekly basis
- Troubleshoot project related problems. Identify and implement creative solutions
- Conduct project assessments
- Analyse data, identify trends, prepare and share reports
Other responsibilities include:
- Identifying learning centres – tie up with orphanages, shelter homes, community centres, government or other low cost schools where children can benefit from Bhumi’s programmes
- Recruit volunteers – Make presentations in colleges, work places to bring in more volunteers
- Represent Bhumi – at events, companies, other organisations for partnerships etc.
- Engage interns and campus ambassadors
- Facilitating other projects like promoting volunteerism, entrepreneurship, wish fulfillment, events etc.
- Facilitate and enable volunteers take up leadership roles
Preferred Education Qualification/ Experience:
- 1-3 years of relevant work experience in the education sector essential
- Graduate/Post Graduate degree in any discipline
- Prior experience of working in a NGO setup desirable (preferably in Education)
- Prior experience of leading a team
- Prior experience of training others
- Prior experience of teaching children is desirable
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
- Fluency in English, Tamil (desirable)
- Computer skills
- Excellent Interpersonal and communication skills
- Excellent organizational and project management skills
- Creativity and problem solving skills
- Resourceful, responsible and self-starting
- Efficient planning and multi tasking skills
- A proactive learner with a positive attitude
- Ability to travel extensively – locally, regionally and nationally
- Reporting to: Projects Director, Chennai
- Expected Age: Below 35
- Scope: Full time, willing to work flexible hours six days a week including most weekends
- Remuneration: based on the candidate’s profile
- Expected Joining Date: Jun-July 2014
We are looking for a leader who is committed to increasing his/her skills, knowledge and ability, and is committed to the Bhumi team for at least two years. This is not an employment opportunity but a calling to facilitate change! If you qualify and are interested to take up the role please email your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bhumi is one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations. We believe that the status quo can be changed by creating youth leaders, improving the education of the next generation Our volunteers work amongst orphaned and underprivileged children in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, New Delhi and other parts of the country with the aim of providing children with quality supplementary education and enable them to become responsible and productive citizens of the future. The efforts of our volunteer force consisting of over 1,000 students and young professionals under the age of 30 will benefit over 12,000 children every year. Details on http://bhumi.org.in/
A little perspective about our programme:
- Number of Years: 3-5/subject
- Target group: Classes 1-9
- Number of classes per week: 2 classes of two hours each during weekends
- Number of hours per year: 100-120
- Number of children per class: 5-10
- Number of volunteer teachers per class: 1-2
- Duration of programmes: 9 months
- Total contact hours per volunteer: 50-60 hours
Expectation from Bhumi volunteers:
- 1 class of 2 hours each every week
- 1 hour for class preparation/week
- 1 hour to travel to and fro to orphanage/community centre
- 1-3 days of training per year
- Actively participate in the discussions.
“2 years back I joined Bhumi as a volunteer. The 6 months I spent as part of Bhumi helped me realise what I wanted to be in life. It inspired me to resign my job in Bangalore and pursue civil services. A few days back my results were announced and by God’s grace, I made it into list with a rank of 352. I will always be grateful to Bhumi, the wonderful friends I made here and the emotional bond i had with our kids..” ~ Krishna Prasad
Do you want to know what sparked the change? Read on…
- A little about yourself (origin, education, past work experiences)
I am from Yeroor, a village in Kollam district of Kerala. My father works with the central government and my mother is a lecturer. I have a younger brother who is pursuing medicine. After completing graduation from College of Engineering Trivandrum in Computer Science, I joined Philips, Bangalore as a software engineer. I also worked in Philips, Brugge for a few months. Later I had a brief stint with SBI as a probationary officer. I believe I had a dream to try for civil services right from college days. But the huge competition in the process and the inherent laziness always made me a bit (should say byte) timid to start preparing for civil service.
- How did volunteering with Bhumi happen (including beginning, which project you volunteered for)?
I was looking for a volunteering opportunity in Bangalore and I accidentally stumbled upon Bhumi’s website. The idea of being a changemaker encouraged me to register on the website. At our induction program, I met some amazing people. I volunteered for the Little Einsteins program at Marthahalli and had a wonderful time teaching, learning and playing with the kids.
- What change did these experiences bring in your life?
The most important change that Bhumi brought in was helping me realign my perspective on life and happiness. When I visited the shelter home for the first time, I assumed that the children would be very sad and dull. But, the kind of happiness and vibrancy they radiated was something I never expected. Once I bonded with them, I felt more responsible. Perhaps, it was the first time someone was looking up to me for something.
In short, I realised that I didn’t want to spend my next 30 years trying to increase the profit of x company from y to z percentage. I wanted to do something more satisfying. And more importantly, the whole process of being a part of Bhumi, meeting diverse people with a passion to pursue their dreams, encouraged me with the requisite courage to resign a well paid job and take that leap of faith to prepare for civil services. Mr. Manivannan (IAS), whom I had met at Nakshatra, helped me a lot during the interview preparation phase later on.
I have a rank of 352 (in the first attempt) which mostly will enable me to be a part of IRS or IPS. I know they are wonderful career options but IAS is what I had aspired for. So, I am planning to give one more attempt and secure a rank below 100. Also, I would like to make myself useful in some way to other aspirants and at least help them avoid the pitfalls I had during my preparation.
- A message to every volunteer at Bhumi
You as a volunteer of Bhumi already have a wonderful platform with you to give back to the society and enrich yourself professionally and personally. What I am giving is not a message, but something I realized during the 1 year preparation phase of mine. If you have a dream and you are pursuing it, the kind of happiness you get from the whole process is inexplicable. I know many of us did not want to be in the professions we are now.
What we are now is something we cannot undo. But we can always aspire to be better; we can follow the path to our dream. Despite of the heavy odds on the way, despite of whether we reach our dream or not, walking that path will give you more satisfaction in life.
I was looking for volunteering opportunities in Chennai and decided to register with Bhumi.
I can’t quite place when and how I came to know about Bhumi. As this organization is really a household name. The company I work in participated in Bhumi’s Joy to the world Program, a couple of my friends have volunteered with Bhumi in the past, all this gave me a better understanding of the good work Bhumi has been continually doing over the years. Need I say more?
What inspired you to be a part of Hi5? How do you feel having been chosen as the Project Coordinator?
What inspired me to be a part of Hi5? Hmm. The idea of planning a weeklong event across the country, getting a huge volunteer base, planning the nitty-gritties of the event, sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Besides, some people may not find the time to volunteer on a regular basis. Providing a volunteering platform to such people seems like a good idea. It also gives a better perspective to people who are unsure of what volunteering cause appeals to them the most.
“With great power, comes great responsibility”
That’s how I feel, being chosen as the Project Co-coordinator. This would be my first big leadership role and I’m both excited and anxious!!
Tell us about your life before Bhumi. (Specially, other volunteering experiences, if any)
As I had mentioned earlier, I was looking for volunteering opportunities in Chennai and I signed up with Bhumi. I had a good six months before I was called for the orientation and I tried my hand at volunteering for a number of small causes during this time.
These experiences have made one thing apparent to me; Bhumi is really structured and organized and working with Bhumi is absolute fun. The volunteer engagement activities and events are definitely a highlight.
Life after Bhumi has sure been busy, but in a very fun way
How has Bhumi altered you, personally?
Confidence is something I have gained after my time with Bhumi.
Also, multi-tasking, I have become very good at that
Tell us about one Bhumian, who you think is a very good inspiration for you.
That’s a tough one. I really can’t pick just one person. Every Bhumian has been and will continue to be an inspiration to me. One thing I HAVE to mention is the amount of energy and enthusiasm every Bhumian has. Simply amazing!
A note about your personal front (education, job, hobbies, passion etc)
School – St.Joesph’s Girls Higher Sec. School, Trichy
College – CEG (Yes, I’m an engineer, a materials science engineer)
Working at Latentview Analytics. A TV show addict. I have spent 82 days and 30 min of my life watching tv serials and sitcoms. (There is a website to actually calculate this =P) I like swimming, origami and I really really like to travel.
One most memorable incident in your life as a Bhumian.
Before Hi5, I was part of LE Math. This one time, I had to handle a bunch of kids on my own and frankly, I was overwhelmed. But this one kid stepped up and helped me out with the younger kids. The ease with which he took lead and handled the situation is something which I will never forget. We truly can learn a lot from kids.
That would be the most memorable incident in my life as a Bhumian
A special message to your fellow volunteers.
Thank you all, for your constant support and help!