How to find time to be a vol­un­teer

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT -

Vol­un­teer­ing is good for us so find a way for you to give some­thing back.

We get it. We’re busy, like re­ally busy. It shows in our stats. Sta­tis­tics NZ re­cently re­leased data show­ing that the num­ber of hours con­trib­uted by vol­un­teers in non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tions dropped by 42 per cent be­tween 2004 and 2013.

Yet at the same time, we know that vol­un­teer­ing is good for us. Stud­ies have shown it can help with men­tal and phys­i­cal health. We know that it helps to build vi­brant, more car­ing com­mu­ni­ties. We know it helps our char­i­ties work ef­fec­tively.

So how do we marry the two? How do we find time to vol­un­teer, when we don’t have the time? Here are five ideas:

MAKE TIME

Let’s get this one out of the way. If you’re that busy, it may pay to stop to re­assess where your time is go­ing? Is what you spend your time on worth­while? Don’t be some­one who looks back at the end of their life with re­gret. In­vest your life in mean­ing­ful things; fam­ily, friends and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

COR­PO­RATE GIVE BACK

Many busi­nesses are now recog­nis­ing the need to give back and are al­lo­cat­ing time for em­ploy­ees to do that. Com­pa­nies such as BNZ close its doors once a year for its Closed for Good cam­paign. Re­cently Neigh­bourly and The Ware­house or­gan­ised the Great Com­mu­nity Clean Up which en­cour­aged lo­cals to get out­doors and clean up their favourite ar­eas in their com­mu­ni­ties. There may be room for your em­ployer to in­cor­po­rate a sim­i­lar ini­tia­tive – if you don’t ask, you may never know.

ALIGN IT WITH YOUR IN­TER­ESTS

If you can find some­thing that you could gen­uinely take up as a hobby, it won’t feel like work. Peo­ple tend to have a very tra­di­tional view of what vol­un­teer­ing is but the av­er­age Kiwi would be pleas­antly sur­prised about how var­ied the vol­un­teer­ing needs are. Make a post to Neigh­bourly and find out what in­ter­est­ing vol­un­teer­ing po­si­tions are out there in your neigh­bour­hood.

TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE

When it comes to your child’s sports games, you pretty much have to be on the side­lines any­way; so why not kill two birds with one stone and coach or ref­eree the games? Vol­un­teer­ing is much more than help­ing those in need, it also in­cor­po­rates the things that help us as a na­tion thrive in healthy and cre­ative ways.

MICROVOLUNTEERING

Over the past num­ber of years, we have seen the rise of Microvolunteering, which de­scribes a vol­un­teer, or team of vol­un­teers, com­plet­ing small tasks that make up a larger project for or­gan­i­sa­tions or gov­ern­ment agen­cies. Th­ese projects of­ten re­quire more spe­cialised skills and have much smaller time com­mit­ments. Check out your lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tions direc­tory on Neigh­bourly.co.nz and ask them how you can show your sup­port.

While th­ese ideas are de­signed to in­spire you, don’t let them re­strict you. Get cre­ative, there are so many ways to get in­volved.

Na­tional Vol­un­teer Week runs from June 18 to 24 with the theme of Live, Laugh, Share: Vol­un­teer. Visit na­tion­alvol­un­teer­week.nz for more in­for­ma­tion, op­por­tu­ni­ties and pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial.

DAVID UNWIN/ FAIR­FAX NZ.

BNZ worker Ryan Golledge takes time out from his day job as part of Closed for Good to help out in the com­mu­nity

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