So this list will be a laundry list of my and others’ mistakes and the things that I have learned from them.
- Volunteer when you are healthy. Even though charities need volunteers they don’t need sick ones. It is an unfortunate fact of life that many people do not have health insurance and can’t easily see a doctor. So while you may be sick and able to get better, it is not so easy for those with a lack of resources. Try to think of the resources of the people you are helping when you are helping them.
- Volunteer when you are in a good mood. If you are stressed or dealing with other issues in your life, don’t bring them to where you are volunteering. They need volunteers with a good, positive, helpful attitude, not one in which they are stressed even more by being there.
- Volunteer when you promise. Unless you are sick or an emergency has come up, please keep your commitments. Many times they plan on your effort and without it, important things don’t get done. So please keep your commitments and call and give a heads up the moment something happens that forces you not to be able to keep your commitment.
- Turn off your phone. Too many times I have seen people distracted by their phone to effectively donate their time. Certainly, you can have a phone, but please instruct people you will be out of touch for whatever time you are donating. It is really disrespectful to stop helping someone in need and whip out an expensive mobile phone and tell them to wait. It’s basically saying that your life is more important than theirs and that you aren’t really in the moment.
- Be humble and do whatever you can to be helpful. Of course, what a charity may ask you to do is probably not what you would prefer to do. Most people do not volunteer for difficult or boring jobs. If they ask you to do something, please, please just do it, regardless of your feelings towards it. If you are known as someone who is not helpful, your usefulness is questionable and they may ask you to not return. Volunteering is about doing what needs to be done, no matter how boring or tiring it may be.