The spring skills swap
The sight of flowers starting to bloom and young lambs beginning to appear in farmers’ fields signify the start of spring, the season of new things. The days are lighter and optimism is in the air, so now’s the perfect time to do something new like volunteering your skills. Make the most of the longer days and you could do something really rewarding.
Everyone has a talent – even if you don’t think of it as anything special. The things you do every day could be invaluable to an often over-stretched local charity. And in return, you’ll feel good about yourself, so everyone benefits.
What’s stopping you? Here are a few ways you could help out:
Are you a people person? Then you’re the kind of person charities need on the front line. This doesn’t have to be rattling a bucket or donation box – you can also play your part by organising events, throwing parties, planning big festivals or simply working behind the counter of a charity shop. When it comes to fundraising, anything and everything is an opportunity.
Small charities often face difficulties when trying to get their message out there. Whatever money they raise goes straight back into charitable work, so they rarely have any kind of marketing budget. If you have time, knowledge or creativity to offer, they would be appreciated by charity workers. Charities often need exposure, and your promotional skills could make that happen.
Fixing, building and lifting
This is a big one. Nearly all of us could lend a hand helping out clearing sites, decorating rooms or tidying gardens, and if you have a little bit of DIY experience, you could go a step further. If your local community centre is looking a little shabby or in need of some love, your paintbrush, screwdriver or toolbox could make a real difference.
Do you know the ins and outs of social media? It’s a valuable tool for charities and community organisations to share what they do and attract support, but they often lack volunteers to manage their Facebook and Twitter channels. Your skills and enthusiasm could help them expand their online audience and boost their profile.
The lifeblood of any charity is the money it brings in, and there are lots of ways you can help this run smoothly. If you’ve got the know-how, handling a local organisation’s finances would be a huge pressure lifted, while balancing the books could ensure a charity thrives long into the future.
Charities aren’t run to make profits, but they do need to be managed in a business-like way to survive and grow, and if they are a grass-roots operation, which has grown organically they might struggle with this. If you have business skills – marketing, sales, management or even legal knowledge – a small organisation could really benefit from having you around.
You might be able to pass on crucial careers advice to young people looking for jobs, or you could teach a skill like sign-language or crafts to people looking to learn new things. Don’t take what you’re good at for granted. Other people might love to know all about it.
Charities need more than just your money – they need you. Not only is giving them your time and skills an incredibly generous offer, but it will also look great on your CV, you’ll meet new people and mix with areas of the community you otherwise wouldn’t. Why not start today and see what’s happening in your local area?
Published 05/01/2016, updated 07/03/2017