After years or months of volunteering, some of us may wonder, what do I do with all that experience? While volunteering itself provides its own form of fulfilment, there may be a nagging voice in our brain that asks us what are some tangible skills that we can take away from it. Well, tell that voice to settle down and grab some popcorn as we here at Skills For Good tell you 3 skills you’ve been honing while volunteering, and how you can apply them in your daily lives.
A big part of volunteering is learning new skills and knowledge while working on volunteer projects. While some of us enter these projects equipped with all the necessary skills, we may still encounter moments where we are faced with a challenge that we may not immediately have the answer to. For instance, Ethel, one of Skills For Good’s volunteers, describes how she had to learn about logo design as part of the project she signed up for under us. Ethel, like many of us volunteers, had to learn to be resourceful, thinking on our feet as we researched and explored various ways to learn the skills we may not always be equipped with. (You can read more about Ethel’s experiences here)
Well, resourcefulness is something that is extremely valuable on a day-to-day basis. Be it that school assignment that we cannot seem to find the secondary sources for or your parents asking you how to fix the Wi-fi connection in your house, you’ll always face challenges that school or even work has not prepared you for. Volunteering gives you that additional experience and teaches you that sometimes you can learn how to solve these problems on your own!
Most of us already know how volunteering gives us a sense of purpose and fulfilment that is hard to find in other aspects of our lives. In fact, it is the main reason why most of us start volunteering in the first place. (For more tips for first-time volunteers read Nichelle’s piece here).
What we may not realise is, as we decide on the organisations we’d like to volunteer at or choose the field we’re interested in, we are indirectly setting goals for ourselves and our volunteering experience. In fact, when we start taking on projects, we start setting more goals for ourselves as we recognise the ways in which we need to help specific social organisations.
It’s okay if you didn’t realise this before! Now that you do know this, you can start applying your goal-setting skills into other aspects of your life, be it in terms of academics, work, fitness or other personal goals. One of the reasons why we enjoy volunteering is that the sense of fulfilment comes from taking actions towards the bigger goal and purpose we’ve created for ourselves when we start volunteering. Now imagine that sense of fulfilment in other aspects of your life too!
3. Networking & Empathy
Volunteering is inherently a very people-oriented experience. We are bound to meet people from all walks of life either in the form of beneficiaries or fellow volunteers. In fact, some of these people end up being friends or people we hold dear to our hearts as we continue to meet them regularly as part of our volunteer projects. Just read how much Julian values his connections made while volunteering here.
More than just volunteering, it is human nature to be social creatures. We’re likely to interact with others often, even for those of us who are more introverted! As we learn to nurture these connections we’ve built while volunteering and as we gain a greater sense of empathy, we can learn to be better people to those we meet daily.
We hope you have a better idea on how to apply some of these skills into your daily lives and know that these are only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other skills you may have picked up which you can (and should!) practice on a day-to-day basis too. If you’d like to learn more about how other volunteers from Skills For Good also applied what they’ve learnt, do check out our volunteer diaries series! And if you’re interested in putting what you already know to good use through volunteering, don’t forget to look through and consider volunteering through Skills For Good as we can help you find an organisation that would best fit you.
About Skills for Good
Skills for Good, a local volunteer-matching organisation, with a base of eclectic volunteers with skills ranging from marketing and communications to information technology to fundraising. We seek to empower volunteers through convenient and meaningful skills-based volunteering opportunities that help social organisations to achieve their mission. Volunteer with us today and wake up tomorrow with the warm and fuzzy sensation of ‘volunesia’.
Lead Author: Nur Laili
Co Author: Kok Nee Tsu