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HomeBlogNot-for-ProfitsBecoming a Remarkable Volunteer: 8 Steps to take that Make a Difference

Becoming a Remarkable Volunteer: 8 Steps to take that Make a Difference

Volunteering is something I have been doing since I was about 25 years old. In every one of these experiences, I learned something I most likely would not have learned anywhere else. Working with peers from many backgrounds and ages toward a common goal has been rewarding and satisfying.

As a marketing analytics partner with several non-profit organizations, I have worked with companies which rely heavily on volunteers so, I have also seen volunteering from the perspective of the organizations who benefit from and rely on volunteers. With experience on both sides of the volunteering coin, I have jotted down some thoughts on how to become a remarkable volunteer.

Being a good volunteer is more than just showing up; it involves dedication, empathy, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Hopefully, there is something below that will make your volunteer experiences a win/win!

The Eight Steps

1. Find Your Passion. The first step in becoming a good volunteer is to find your passion and interests. Consider what issues or causes resonate with you the most. Whether it’s working with children, animals, the environment, a trade association or any other area, your enthusiasm will drive your commitment to making a difference.

2. Commitment and Reliability. 

Being a good volunteer means showing up when you commit to do so. Treat your volunteer work with the same level of responsibility as a paid job. If you can’t fulfill a commitment, communicate your unavailability in advance and plan to reschedule or find a replacement if necessary.

3. Embrace Flexibility.

Volunteering often involves tasks that may change or adapt on the spot. Be flexible and open to new challenges, even if they weren’t part of your initial plan. A good volunteer is adaptable and willing to step out of their comfort zone. (A useful tip for life too.)

4. Develop Skills.

Your volunteer experience can also be a learning opportunity. Use it to develop and enhance valuable skills, whether it’s leadership, communication, or project management. The more you grow, the more you can contribute to your chosen cause.

5. Show Empathy and Respect.

Treat everyone involved in your volunteer work with respect and empathy, from the beneficiaries to fellow volunteers and staff. Show a genuine interest in their well-being and be sensitive to their needs and feelings. Empathy goes a long way in building strong connections.

6. Communication.

Effective communication is vital in any volunteer role. Clearly express your ideas, ask questions when needed, and actively listen to others. Good communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and promotes a positive work environment. Lecturing to others is a universal show stopper.

7. Work as a team.

Most volunteer work involves collaboration with others. Be a team player and support your fellow volunteers. Share responsibilities, offer help when needed, and foster a sense of camaraderie. A strong team can accomplish much more than individuals working alone.

8. Stay committed.

Volunteer work may come with challenges and setbacks, but staying committed is key. Remind yourself of the impact your work has on the community or cause you’re supporting. Your perseverance will help you make a lasting difference and feel a sense of accomplishment.

In conclusion

Being a good volunteer is about more than just showing up; it’s about dedication, empathy, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact. By finding your passion, committing to your chosen cause, and adhering to the principles of reliability, flexibility, and teamwork, you can become a remarkable volunteer who contributes to the betterment of your community and the world. Remember, your efforts, no matter how small, can lead to significant change, and your journey as a volunteer can be deeply rewarding.

Food for Thought:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has“. Margaret Mead

Bonnie Massa is Founder and President of Chicago-based Massa & Company, Inc. She works with companies and nonprofits to make the best use of their information about customers, partners, donors and sponsors. With more than 40 years of experience in marketing and predictive analytics, Bonnie is passionate about helping clients make informed, data-driven decisions to increase the value of their customer base. She strongly believes that making pasta and ice cream from scratch are worth the effort, and she spends much of her free time testing and re-testing that theory.


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