How To: Top 5 Tips For First Time Volunteers
So you’re ready to take on the world but you want to save some pennies in the process, experience a completely new way of life while you can, or maybe just offer a helping hand along the way. Volunteering opens the door for all of these things and more, but you don’t know where to start?
Check out my top 5 tips for first time volunteers (written after my first volunteering experience), so that the rest of you have a head start if you choose to do the same:
Tip 1) Do your research…
I always wanted to give volunteering a go, but couldn’t bring myself to settle for just anything. In the end my girlfriend and I opted to volunteer on a farm during our stay in New Zealand, partly because we’ve never done anything like it before, but mainly because we both love the outdoors. Before we arrived we checked online for details of the particular farm we’d be working on so that we knew what to expect, and even watched a couple of tutorial videos to make sure that we were up to speed on the little things. Although seemingly excessive at first, doing so put us one step ahead when making a good impression, and essentially built the foundations of a very successful volunteering experience.
Just make sure that you know what you’re getting into before you get into it!
Tip 2) Don’t expect an easy ride…
I very nearly fell victim to this one by over confidently heading to a farm for the first time ever. It took a while for me to realize that volunteering is actually really hard work, regardless of what you’re doing, but after a few days I turned my mindset up on its head and tried to expect a really hard day every day, because then things could only get better. I guess it’s a bit of an extreme way to do it, but it worked for me!
Tip 3) Remember that it’s a two way thing…
Sometimes, especially after a hard day at work, it’s quite easy to forget that you’re not the only one going out of their way to make the experience a successful one. On countless occasions I had to work double shifts, because sometimes that’s just the way it goes, but every night I had a meal on the table in front of me and a room with a bed to sleep in. Try to always keep in mind that while you’re putting your back out working for somebody, they’re actually welcoming you to their home, their place of work, or maybe even their family.
Tip 4) Be inquisitive…
Whether you realize it or not, you will have already shown a great deal of interest by signing up to a volunteering programme. Don’t stop there though! Having a sense of curiosity will not only highlight your desire to learn, but it will pave the way towards a much more educational and rewarding experience.
Tip 5) Lastly, be yourself…
No matter who you are, where you’re from, what you do or why you do it, there’s nothing more important than always staying true to yourself. The rewards of volunteering are limitless, whether you’re on the other side of the world or only down the road from home. No two people are the same, but most of the time it’s our differences that bring us together.
For more from Dan be sure to check out his blog http://danstravelling.wordpress.com
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