If your financial needs are catered for and you wish to do something without a monetary reward, then volunteering can provide a great deal of satisfaction and numerous intangible benefits. This option doesn’t have to be taken in isolation and you could do voluntary work alongside other things e.g. a paid job, which can actually complement other career choices. Most volunteer organisations / charities also have employed people on their books, so if you do well, you may at some point be offered a paid role. It’s something to be mindful of even if turning voluntary work into a paid role is not your original intention.
As a volunteer, you can usually have a say in your terms and conditions i.e. how many hours you work and how many days of the week/month that is. Many organisations will be grateful for any contribution that you can provide and recognise that you are giving up your time for free. Working on a voluntary basis is still considered to be ‘work’ and the standards expected tend to be just as high as if you were employed because the organisation also has a reputation to protect. There may be a dress code, definitely policies and procedures to be followed and it may well be that you don’t get paid anything for volunteering other than perhaps your ‘out of pocket’ expenses. To save any embarrassment, ensure that you ask the right questions before taking on a voluntary role so that everyone is aware of the commitment required and offered.
Summary of the benefits of voluntary work:
There are a number of organisations and websites where you can find out more about volunteering to see if it the sort of thing that you are interested in.
Volunteer Centres are local organisations that provide support and expertise within the local community, to potential volunteers, existing volunteers and organisations that involve volunteers. Postcode search box on their website.
Volunteering is essentially helping others for free, but you could consider taking the lead on something that you can then own as a project e.g.:
A database containing thousands of volunteer roles throughout the UK.
8,000 international volunteers working globally. Assignments typically 1-3 months
150 programmes active across the UK involving 35,000 volunteers. You can search for opportunities to join in on their website.
International volunteer organisation offering opportunities to volunteer across the world.