Do you volunteer?

"Be kind, be creative and most importantly just get out and get involved."

Campfire was designed with the volunteer in mind, and over the course of our sector release, we are constantly in awe of the amazing people and their contribution to their volunteering organisation. What we also have discovered though in our partnerships with these amazing organisations, is that volunteering comes in many different shapes and sizes. Moving away from a static volunteering environment to a more dynamic and opportunistic state means there are so many more ways people can get involved.

This article was contributed to Campfire’s bank of blogs which perfectly depicts what a volunteer can be and because the sky is the limit, what infinite number of activities people can be involved in.

How do you volunteer?

Volunteering, by definition is:

‘… time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.’ (source Volunteering Australia)

When thinking about volunteering or indeed a volunteer, you may automatically conjure up various iterations of an amazing person who’s sacrificed a significant chunk of their time and energy, and passionately dedicated those precious commodities towards their chosen cause or maybe you just think it’s giving a few hours on your Saturday to the local charity soup kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, both of these are amazing, but there are so many different variations of volunteering which are so often overlooked or undervalued.

I recently asked a friend if they volunteer, and with a frown they replied ‘not really,’ they are time poor with work and kids and didn’t really know what to do. Well I know full well they haul themselves out of bed once a month on a Saturday morning to help a local Landcare group, that they coach their child’s netball team and participate in at least five fun runs a year which they actively fundraise for. Add up all this time and we are looking at, at least 10 hours a month they volunteered to these groups. In dollar terms, 10 hours at minimum wage is around $200 a month. Now don’t get me wrong, when it comes to volunteering it’s not about money but it is a useful comparative metric to the impact they were unknowingly having.

The key takeaway is don’t underestimate the value of volunteering your time nor overlook the multiple different types of volunteering you can take part in. From op shop assistants, conservationists, foster carers, fund-raisers, transporters, teachers, care givers, coaches, helpers, wildlife rescuers, community action promoters, there is simply no limit to how you can volunteer! I mean, just stopping to show a tourist the way to the train station is, by definition, volunteering. Be kind, be creative and most importantly just get out there and get involved. Your community cannot stay connected and prosperous without caring volunteers.

So, if someone asks you how you volunteer, what will your answer be? Why don’t you tell us in a comment we would love to know!

Article kindly voluntarily authored byCatherine Young

Environmental Scientist