Social Responsibility Student-made

My first month as a volunteer

I was keen to start the new year with a new opportunity. So, just before Christmas, I decided to start my search for volunteering opportunities. Besides from the fact that volunteering contributes towards the Stellify Award, I wanted to feel the more personal benefits that people often speak of when they talk about volunteering – the feeling of reward, purpose, and pride in helping other people. I wanted something that was going to challenge me, develop my existing skills, and make me stand out when applying for future vacancies too. As a keen writer, I wanted to find something that would allow me to explore my written skills and creativity further.

To find opportunities, I used the University’s online resources but also searched for opportunities through other sites, the best one being Do-It.org. I tailored my searches to suit my skills, interests and location, and even searched for remote opportunities that could be done from anywhere with WiFi. I applied for a few of the vacancies, but one stood out and really took my interest – a role as a Content Co-ordinator for a charity called Poverty Child. Luckily for me, I heard back from Poverty Child just a few days after applying.

Once they acknowledged my interest, I was asked to send over my CV. Following this, a Skype interview was arranged to discuss the role and my suitability in more depth. I was anxious beforehand, finding the best spot for WiFi and checking my webcam was good enough. I’d never done a Skype interview before and I didn’t know what to expect. Despite my nervousness, everything ran smoothly and after a chat about the role and my skills, I was offered the opportunity to be a volunteer!

As a Content Coordinator, I can work from anywhere at all. Poverty Child prides itself on not having an office or HQ to minimise costs, meaning all donations go straight towards slum and street children abroad. Instead, all volunteers work from home, coffee shops, student unions, and so on. I like this aspect because as a living-at-home student, it means I can volunteer from home, on the bus during my commutes, or even between lectures and seminars! This is just my personal preference as I know many volunteers will enjoy interacting with the people they are helping face-to-face. However, my passion lies with writing and so being able to use my skills to raise awareness for a great cause is something I really enjoy.

I’ve been volunteering as a Content Coordinator for just under a month now and I can honestly say that, so far, I am really enjoying it. Right after my interview, I was given a project to manage in which I have to design a cluster blog, work out the timeline, write the posts and cooperate with the graphic designer to ensure we are posting great content to the website. It’s quite a lot of responsibility, but I like that – I’ve always enjoyed a challenge. The other volunteers are extremely helpful too and if there’s anything I need help with, I always get the support.

I’ve been planning and organising the project now for around three weeks, in between my other commitments. Just within that time, I have already learnt so much about the charity sector itself and how it works, and also what is required to organise a successful project. I am working with people that have years of experience in the marketing and communications industry and I am learning so much from them. Not only am I learning new things that will help build my CV and writing portfolio, but the feelings volunteering creates are a good enough reward in itself. It’s a great feeling to know that you are using your skills to raise awareness for those in need, and that you have the potential to inspire people to donate to a worthy cause.

For anyone that is considering becoming a volunteer, I would definitely recommend it. Whether it’s for the feelings of pride and purpose, or for the development of your own skills and CV, it is entirely worth it because you get so much from the opportunity. There are so many volunteering roles out there and there really is something for everyone. With tailored searches that reflect what you want from the opportunity, you can find a position ideal for you, just as I did.