Do Good Be Good values: 10 Tips on why volunteering is so beneficial for all

Episode 056

Dec 6, 2023

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Do Good Be Good Values: Why is volunteering so important?

Volunteering is incredibly important, not just for others but for yourself, too.

Volunteering can work wonders for your self-confidence, self-esteem, and overall happiness. Helping others and contributing to your community naturally brings a sense of accomplishment and triggers those feel-good hormones we discussed in our previous episode, oxytocin.

So, when feeling down, consider looking up and lending a helping hand to others.

In our last episode, we explored the Random Acts of Safety concept, which inspired us to delve deeper into the world of volunteering.

Volunteering comes in various forms. It could involve committing to a volunteer organisation for an extended period and integrating it into your regular routine. Alternatively, it might be a team effort within your organisation, like participating in projects like building houses with organisations like Habitat for Humanity.

It can be shorter-term, where you identify a need in your community, provide assistance, and then move on. The beauty of volunteering lies in its versatility, and research shows that it dramatically enhances well-being and positively impacts communities.

Habitat for Humanity is known for its global initiatives and has conducted extensive research on the value and benefits of volunteering, which they've compiled in their evidence brief (link in the resource section below).

Today, we will explore ten compelling reasons why you should consider volunteering.
We'll also share how we at Safety Collaborations contribute to our communities.

Finding the right volunteering opportunity can take time, as Karin experienced when she moved to Scotland. It's about discovering what suits you best because we're all part of something larger than ourselves and have a natural inclination to help others.

Our drive to positively impact and leave a meaningful legacy extends beyond ourselves. It's not just about leaving behind a family or business legacy; it's about making a difference in our communities.

Think of the saying, "think global and act local."
It encourages us to make a local impact with the resources we have at hand.

Ten Reasons to Volunteer

Let's explore ten reasons to volunteer or why you might like to volunteer, which show how awesome volunteering is.

And really, we also come at this from our organisations, the organisations that we work in, not just the community. So it highlights how you can grow as a person, become a better leader and positively impact your organisation, not just the community.

1. Building Stronger Teams:

Volunteering with a "do good, be good" mindset fosters teamwork and collaboration. It teaches you how to communicate differently and more effectively with your team members. Trust is built through common goals outside your regular work, and camaraderie is established.

This teamwork and trust extend beyond the volunteer group, with people bringing their families and themselves, creating a sense of unity and purpose in making the world a better place.

2. Developing Leadership Skills:

Volunteering provides opportunities to exercise leadership skills, regardless of your formal title. You may face situations where you have to make decisions, communicate effectively with your team, and help others develop their skills.

This experience fosters a mindset shift, as volunteering requires a more encouraging and supportive communication style, promoting leadership development.

3. Learning Cultures in Action:

Volunteering pushes you to step out of your comfort zone and acquire new skills.

It encourages personal growth by challenging your current boundaries and expanding your horizons. The skills learned in a volunteer environment can be brought back to your organisation, enhancing the culture of continuous learning.

4. Conversational Intelligence in Practice:

In a volunteer setting, you learn to communicate more effectively.

You understand the importance of clarity in requests, offers, and commitments. Volunteering provides an opportunity to practice conversational intelligence, as ambiguity doesn't help, and effective communication becomes crucial to achieving goals.

5. Emotional Literacy and Psychological Safety:

Volunteering takes you out of your comfort zone, where you learn to understand better and manage your emotions. You often face emotive challenges or opportunities to help in your community, which teaches you to empathise with others.

This goes beyond sympathy and focuses on genuine support and understanding, contributing to psychological safety in your workplace.

6. Developing Intercultural Intelligence:

Volunteering exposes you to diverse groups of people, including those with different cultural norms and backgrounds. You learn to appreciate and work effectively with these differences, promoting inclusivity.

Whether within a team of volunteers or working with communities, intercultural intelligence becomes a valuable skill.

7. Making a Positive Impact:

Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and motivation to impact your community and organisation positively.

Witnessing the gratitude and positive change resulting from your efforts can be a powerful motivator. This positivity extends to your workplace, creating a more productive and safer environment.

8. Personal Growth and Fulfillment:

Volunteering offers personal growth and fulfilment opportunities.

You meet inspiring individuals and witness the incredible work done by volunteers and communities in need. These experiences foster humility and gratitude, enriching your life and perspective.

9. Promoting Ethical and Responsible Leadership:

Many organisations support community initiatives through volunteering - demonstrating corporate and social responsibility.

Employees are more likely to engage with companies that care about their communities, enhancing the organisation's reputation and contributing to responsible leadership.

10. Strengthening Organisational Reputation:

Taking action through volunteering demonstrates an organisation's commitment to making a positive difference.

It goes beyond words and shows that the organisation is willing to invest time and resources to support its community. This strengthens the organisation's reputation, making it more credible and trustworthy.

Bonus:
Meeting inspiring individuals and experiencing humility are additional rewards of volunteering. Witnessing the dedication of individuals and communities in need can be humbling and inspiring, reminding you of the importance of making a positive impact.

Why Volunteer and How?

These are the questions we're addressing.

When we started our business, we consciously decided to allocate a percentage of our time and/or money to support local and global causes.

Volunteering has been a part of our lives in various forms for years, but now we're putting even more effort into it, recognising that it's bigger than just individuals.

As you volunteer, you'll find that the more you give, the more it becomes a natural part of who you are. It's a transformative experience.

E056_Do Good Be Good values - Karin & Nuala - Image

A percentage of our time and/or money is given to local and global causes.

How we Volunteer

Lions Club International
'On a Mission to Serve'
https://www.lionsclubs.org/
Nuala Gage

Nuala is a member of Pretoria City Lions, a chapter of Lions International, a global organisation with 1.4 million members in over 200 countries.

Lions International is all about service and making a positive impact globally and locally. They focus on areas such as diabetes, the environment, hunger alleviation, vision, and childhood cancer.

Locally, Lions work with specific communities and organisations like the Guide Dog Association to support those in need. The Guide Dog Association provide service dogs not only for blind people but also for those with diabetes, autism, and epilepsy.

The Lions are deeply involved with various causes, including youth, elderly, and differently-abled individuals, ensuring they are not left feeling lonely or forgotten in the community.

Mental wellness and mental health support are crucial, especially during this time of year, so volunteering in such areas can make a significant difference.

Nuala's involvement began as a "friend of the Lions" in 2015, to eventually becoming a board member in 2017. Despite becoming busier, she continues to be an active member and volunteer, recognising that time management is key to balancing commitments while giving back to the community.

Karin is involved with two meaningful organisations that she's passionate about.

The first is Kiva, a micro-lending organisation with a mission to "make a loan, change a life." Karin has been a micro-lender for over 20 years, continually reinvesting the money as it comes back. She specifically focuses on supporting women in Africa by providing micro-loans of $25 each.

Karin appreciates that these loans are interest-free, as she has experienced financial struggles in her own life and understands the burden of interest. Kiva has been making a significant impact, reaching billions of dollars in loans.

KIVA [micro-lending]
'Make a loan, change a life'
https://www.kiva.org/
Karin Ovari

Royal National Lifeboat Institution
'Saving lives at Sea'
https://rnli.org/
Karin Ovari

The second organisation Karin is deeply involved with is the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), which is celebrating its 200th anniversary.

The RNLI is unique because it is entirely self-funded, supporting lifesaving efforts in the UK and worldwide. Karin serves as the honorary treasurer for the Aberdeen Lifeboat Station. She actively participates in fundraising activities, from selling Christmas cards to walking around with donation buckets.

She finds joy in these interactions and believes in the RNLI's vital role in saving lives, especially at sea. Karin's passion for this organisation stems from her personal experience as a sailor and her admiration for the dedicated rescue services.

In 2018, she joined the RNLI and has contributed her time, energy, and effort ever since. The RNLI has played a crucial role in various rescue operations, including oil and gas disasters.

Next year will be a significant milestone for the RNLI as it celebrates its bicentennial.

Inspiration to get started

Volunteering becomes much more fulfilling when you are deeply passionate about the cause.

Whether it's your love for sailing, a desire to engage with your community or any other personal interest, finding a cause that resonates with your heart makes the commitment easier and more rewarding.

If this has sparked your interest and you're thinking - I would like to volunteer; I want to do something - you can always reach out to Karin and Nuala at hello@safetycollaborations.com, and they will let you know more about the RNLI, Kiva or Lions International and how you can be a part of that.

But what else is there?
How do you get started?

Here are some important considerations:

Time Commitment:

Assessing how much time you can realistically dedicate to volunteering is essential. Overcommitting can lead to burnout, so balancing your other responsibilities and volunteering efforts is crucial.

Goals and Objectives:

Clarifying your goals and objectives for volunteering is essential. Are you looking to gain specific experiences, learn new skills, or step out of your comfort zone for personal growth? Having clear intentions will help you make the most of your volunteering experience.

Starting Small:

You don't have to commit to long-term volunteering right away. Starting with smaller steps, like helping at a local animal charity, allows you to dip your toes into volunteering and assess if it's the right fit for you.

Ask Questions:

Be bold and ask questions when considering a volunteering opportunity. Inquiring about the organisation's mission, expectations, and the nature of the work involved will help you manage your commitments effectively and avoid making promises you can't fulfil.

Exploration:

Volunteering offers a wide array of opportunities. Keep going even if your initial experience doesn't align with your expectations or interests. Keep exploring different options until you find the match that aligns with your passion and values.

Research:

Researching organisations you're interested in is vital. Social media platforms can be valuable tools for understanding an organisation's activities, values, and impact within the community. This research helps ensure that your values align with the organisation's mission.

Bring a Friend:

If volunteering alone feels daunting, consider bringing a friend or family member along. Sharing the experience with someone you know can provide comfort and companionship while making a positive impact together.

Persistence:

Don't be discouraged if your initial volunteering experience doesn't meet your expectations. Persistence is key. There are numerous opportunities to make a difference.

With determination, you'll eventually find the organisation and cause that resonates with you, allowing you to contribute meaningfully to your community or beyond.

Sharing is Caring

Volunteering aligns with our core values of safety culture, leadership, learning, and effective communication. So, over to you and why you want to volunteer.

Share your stories with us on this page in the 'Share Your Thoughts' section above or reach out to us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram and use the hashtag #conversationsthatmatter

Cancer Research UK
'Together we are beating cancer'
https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
Catrina Kruger

Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance
'Saving time, saving lives'
https://www.scaa.org.uk/
Catrina Kruger

Resources

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About the Show

Our purpose in sharing this podcast is to have a chinwag (conversation) to help people change how they think and behave about safety. 

We do this by engaging in dialogue and testing the levels of trust and psychological safety, which are core to organisational culture. Making safety part of your DNA so that your people speak up, show up, do right, and become safer every day for yourself, your team, and your business.

We will explore topics related to organisational and safety culture, leadership, the language of risk, emotional literacy, psychological safety, conversational agility, intercultural intelligence, and whatever else pops up during our conversations—sharing our experiences and learnings. 

We intend to share nuggets of wisdom that will challenge your perspectives, potentially solve a nagging problem, share actions you can implement, and give you at least one aha moment.

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