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Why charity volunteering is one of the best ways to spend your time

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'Voluntary' - the word that seems to contain an active repellent whenever included in a job advertisement. It seems in today's society that if it doesn't pay, we're not interested. 

This is a sad reality for the charity sector. Charities reach out to those who need our help the most, and, contrary to popular belief - what will earn you a fat wallet won't necessarily be the most worthy use of your time. 

I spend a lot of my time donating what I can to charitable organisations - whether that be a couple of coins in a supermarket collection, a tweet spreading the word for the cause, or an hour or so getting involved with events. 

Here's why getting involved with volunteering could be one of the best decisions you make this year. 

1. There's an opportunity for everyone

Music your thing? Then there's a festival out there with a charity partnership that would love your help. Aspiring athlete? Challenge yourself and get involved with one of the thousands of sponsored sporting events that happen every day up and down the country. Into the arts? There's all sorts of charity productions and arts festivals that need your help. It's not all about bucket shaking and cold calling - you could make a huge difference just by coming along and slapping a smile on your face.

2. Sample future careers

One of the biggest things I've noticed about volunteering is its reactivity. Often the events have so many exciting things going on at once, that its a great opportunity to stick your fingers in so many pies and collect as much experience as possible. You can even do a test run of future careers that you've been contemplating - whether it's business and events management, PR and communications or the charity sector, then this could get you some practical experience to gloat about in interviews and help you decide whether it's the right path for you.

 

3. Meeting incredible people

It's just a fact that people who work in charity are the salt of the earth. The incredible people that dedicate their careers and often their spare time to making a difference have been some of the loveliest teams I have had the pleasure to work with. Their enthusiasm, drive and focus on raising as much as possible for those who need it is something I aspire to inherit as I move through life, and an attitude that I think we could all take on board. 

Not only will you get the chance to meet the heroes that make it all possible, but also the heroes that you're dedicating your time to. Those who benefit from the charity's work are who we're doing it for, and are some of the strongest and most admirable people that I have had the honour to meet. Watching people achieve momentous personal goals as they cross the finish line or beat their target is a truly unforgettable moment, and one of my greatest sources of drive and inspiration. 

4. Life-changing fun

Volunteering days are admittedly exhausting, but in my experience that means you did it right. Your job is to make the day as positive, fun and exciting as possible for those involved, and whether that be dancing with a mascot, getting all of somebody's Christmas wrapping done or just sharing a bit of banter over the walkie-talkies, charity events are so much fun, and the only reason you'd walk away without a smile on your face is if it now physically hurts to. 

 

5. Add some sparkle to your CV

It's also a great opportunity to get some practical work experience and some transferable skills to pop on your CV. You can gain experience in team building, events management and preparation, taking initiative and lending a hand wherever you can, as well as exercising your empathetic skills and putting others first.

Voluntary work could be a sparkling addition to your employability profile, as the fact that you've shown such enthusiasm and commitment to a cause that doesn't offer a financial reward shows that it's not all about the money for you. Plus you could gain some useful references along the way, opening up even further job opportunities in the future.  

6. Inspiring Rewards

Without sounding like a tear-jerking advertisement plea that you see on the telly, I have to say that I genuinely walk away from a volunteering with a huge smile on my face. You know that you spent your day working hard, helping out wherever you can, having fun and making a difference to somebody's life without even realising it. You're not going to have a fat wallet, but your job satisfaction levels will be fit to bursting. 

Sound like something you fancy? Be a part of something amazing and get involved. There are so many possibilities around, even as close as on your university campus. Check out your student union's page or head to google for volunteering opportunities in your area. You won't regret it!

 

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