Project Management

How to be a more effective volunteer

From the Project Managers Without Borders Blog
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This blog provides project management content and tools for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Our objective is to inspire project managers to volunteer and make a positive difference in the world through project management.

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Aliki Courmanopoulos
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Filipe Bergami

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In this busy and ever-changing world, volunteering requires resource management. Effectiveness doesn’t come easily, but it is something worthy of investment if you are looking to improve your reach.

Before we dive in, please check out other great related PMWB articles such as:

Managing Volunteers: Push for Efficiency!

Giving Back That Feels Like Taking

The Value of Giving Back With Project Management

There is plenty of content available for free at this link.

If you feel like helping and are inspired to do volunteering work, you can get involved through several different ways, so please check out our available options.

The following are few simple, but helpful tips of how you can be a more effective volunteer.

Before volunteering

  1. Make sure your ideals, thoughts, and goals are in alignment with the volunteer institutions or organizations you are considering. Give a great first impression, honor your promises, schedule a time, and a join whichever one fits you.   
  2. Every project you develop or participate in should have an objective and a reward, so does your volunteer work. Having a clear and focused objective and expecting a reward is necessary. An objective might start as Why am I doing this? For who am I doing this? What resources do I need to provide? and so on. A reward might be knowledge you learn, networking and connections you make, people or organizations you help, and so forth.

In a volunteer work

  1. If you volunteer at two or more places, a great way to be more effective is to join similar organizations, where you can interchange between each other and reach a greater number of people. It is also beneficial if you can to provide aid based on your own professional job or hobby. At the same time, it will be less time consuming and your familiarization with the topic will make your volunteering easier.  
  2. There is a completely different way to look at it: Leave your comfort zone! Make sure you do volunteer work outside your area of expertise. Learn new things and thoughts and, surely, you will carry it throughout your life at the same time you improve other people’s lives. 

Within a volunteer project

  1. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, listen and make points, don’t allow the project to miss its goal. Your most important contribution is to be critical, don’t be afraid to express your opinions and concerns, as well as, being helpful. Don’t just recognize problems; offer practical and reasonable solutions.
  2. Make progress, just the attempt of making progress is progress.   

The next step forward

An effective volunteering impact means being recognized for the resources and achievements you provided. Once you reached the project goals be proud and share the results to inspire others to do the same. If something went not as you expected, take notes, make changes, and discuss. At the end, any experience is valuable and any meaningful help is precious and appreciated.   

Ultimately, be happy doing it.

Posted by Filipe Bergami on: May 24, 2019 09:10 AM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Great post, thank you for those great insights.

Volunteering is where growth and new insights really happen! Thank you for sharing!

Good points, nicely presented

Great post, ill certainly check out your links.... as Einstein quoted... “Life isn't worth living, unless it is lived for someone else” and “Student is not a container you have to fill but a torch you have to light up.”

Thank you! Volunteering is where I plan to gain some of my first experiences as a project manager.

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