I am often asked to give a quick overview of what volunteering is and how companies can get involved. We are proud to be supporting our clients during Volunteers Week 2019 and this is a timely moment to explain what it is and how it’s done!
The Third Sector comprises charities, Community Interest Companies and public sector areas such as care or education. There are three ways that volunteers can support them: help develop the beneficiary’s effectiveness, improve the beneficiary’s infrastructure or support the beneficiary’s service users.
Most companies rightly separate volunteering and fundraising and we focus on helping companies to offer their time and expertise. Volunteers can do this by practical or skills volunteering. Practical volunteering includes painting, refurbishment, conservation, gardening or environmental and will improve a beneficiary’s infrastructure. Skills volunteering includes facilitation, educating, mentoring, listening, caring, advising and many more and will usually help a charity to do things better, or provide direct support to their service users.
Practical volunteering makes an impact as most charities do not have the budget to fund the work or buy the materials needed. Done well, practical volunteering will achieve something that would otherwise not be done. Fresh, clean and tidy buildings and grounds can make a considerable difference to the self-esteem and wellbeing of service users. Skills volunteering can help a beneficiary improve its effectiveness and make a bigger difference by supporting more people or supporting them better. Supporting service users directly takes some of the pressure off the beneficiary and can make a direct impact on those being supported.
There are so many ways to make a difference and it will be exciting to see so many people doing so during Volunteers Week and throughout the year. Volunteers are very special people indeed.