Published by Sushant Chavan on 26 Jun 2012 at 12:58 pm
Working towards a sustainable future is not an easy task. As global awareness rises, however, more people will help spread the word, organize campaigns, and push for policy changes.
At the 2nd WiserLocal Bangalore Meet Up, participants discussed the challenges and potential involved in volunteering. Volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences not just for an individual, but for organizations as well. The most common problem organizations face is sourcing volunteers. Often they have tie-ups with institutes or companies where the CSR wing connects them to the volunteers.
A few reasons why they are not fully engaged is because organizations fail to set the expectations. Usually only the event agenda is described and they forget to provide information about the specific tasks the volunteers will be required to do. For example, volunteers who love animals would be very interested to be part of the adoption drive but might be hesitant to get involved with the cleaning efforts.
By breaking down the campaign into tasks and then seeking out volunteers based on the skills required makes the whole experience smooth and enjoyable. Most of the time, when volunteers show up at the event there is no proper work division or directions from the organizers, which makes it a bit frustrating. Organizations like Dream a dream project are great in tracking their volunteering efforts in terms of the numbers and the effort hours and how productive the engagements have been. You can read about them here.
Most of the organizations have a database of volunteers who have worked with them in the past or have expressed an interest in being a part of their campaigns. It would be great if organizations plan out their events in advance so that they can block calendars which will ensure a better participation. It is also essential to have a strong communication network with the volunteers, so that they are updated about the organization’s activities. This makes the volunteers feel connected.
“Volunteers need not be experts, but committed.”
It is best that individuals volunteering to participate are equipped with all the tools and information required to perform their roles effectively and prepare for the event day. Hence, it would be great if induction programs are conducted before the event to take care of the general do’s or don’ts or even where handouts/mailers are passed on.
Volunteering need not always be a free of charge activity. Pretty often volunteers are requested to pay a fee to participate in events. Certain organizations believe that volunteering is a learning experience and hence needs to be accounted for. This serves the dual purpose of gauging the seriousness of the volunteer and also opens up pathways for contribution towards the cause. This model has been applied by many rural/eco-tourism ventures, such as Ecoshpere. It is also known as volun-touring.
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