A quick ‘how to’ guide
Sometimes, the chance to turn a life around comes when you least expect it. Other times, you just have to create it on your own. While your own company may be curating great volunteering opportunities for you, like how Tata Engage does for Tata group companies, most volunteering initiatives are run by a one or more enthusiastic, passionate individuals who want to really contribute to a cause they feel strongly about. If you’re one among these self-driven volunteers, but want a bit of help to curate a volunteering activity of your own, here’s a quick ‘how to’ guide to get your started.
Before we begin, it’s important to answer one important question: In what capacity do you want to volunteer?
If the answer is…..
a.) I want to volunteer by yourself, but in partnership with a non-profit:
If you wish to volunteer individually, with a non-profit, all you have to do is find one that supports the cause that you love, and get in touch to work out your time. Remember to not commit more than you can actually deliver – fix the amount of time you wish to dedicate in a week (or over several weeks) and then start your project with them.
b.) I want to volunteer with a group:
Sometimes the non-profit you wish to support may already have an activity ready that they need support for. Find out if it’s something you wish to participate in and join in the fun. This way you get to meet like-minded people and participate in something that really gives you a break from the mundaneness of everyday life.
c.) I want to host my own activity and rope in people I know:
Now you’re talking! If there’s something that you feel really strongly about in and around your community – a cause that you feel needs residents’ attention – then you can host your own activity. Here’s a list of all the group activities that you could take the responsibility of hosting, and rope in people who’re interested by spreading the word.
Here’s a list of some of the more popular activities that people often participate in during Tata Volunteering Weeks:
First Book and TATA Consultancy Services volunteer at the Urban Scholars Community School in Bronx, NY on March 28th, 2016. (Photo by Julie Hau)
Organise a storytelling session or book-reading session for the aged, at a home for the aged, or perhaps for the underprivileged in and around your neighbourhood. Make sure the stories are relevant to their age, and are in a language that they can understand – e.g. reading in English to at a community gathering may not be useful if the local language is Tamil.
A lot of young people don’t always get the exposure they deserve. Which is why field trips to educational institutions, or a nearby museum, or a visit to a botanical garden, are a lot of fun. It need not always be an educational trip, it can also be something like a children’s movie projection at your community hall – for free! Ask your neighbours and friends to pitch with small meals or snacks that you can distribute that day.
CLEAN UP DRIVES
Volunteers from Tata Chemicals, Mitahpur, conduct regular coral reef clean-up drives to ensure the coasts in and around their community are always clean.
A clean-up drive is the easiest volunteering activity that you can host. You just need to pick a day when you’re hosting the activity, spread the word among friends, family and neighbours; zero in on a location that’s in dire need of cleaning – e.g. the streets around your neighbourhood, the pavements on the way to your supermarket. Pool in money to get cleaning resources – gloves, bags, brooms and sticks. Then just clean away! The whole society will appreciate you for all your efforts.
SPEND QUALITY TIME
Volunteers from Tata Steel and Processing Limited spent quality time with the residents of a nearby home for the aged.
When it comes to volunteering, the quality of time one spends with the beneficiary is what goes a long way. Sometimes even an hour of good conversation can make a whale of a difference. Visit a home for the aged and host a live band even for them, contact a non-profit for children and check out if you can celebrate a child’s birthday, if it’s festive time – spend a day at an orphanage and play games. Even a few hours on a day works great!
For more information on how you can host your own activity, click on the cover image below to download our DIY Volunteering Ideas Guide.