As part of our special 150th blog series our guest blogger this week is John Sennett. John is a charity and lifestyle blogger, volunteering influencer, public speaker and creator of John’s Road to Volunteering! He started volunteering four years ago and hasn’t looked back.
Volunteers are an integral part of the work we do at Spurgeons. Our volunteers support us across every department and in each of our Children's Centres. They are an essential part of our success story and we recognise the huge contribution they make.
Learning to take myself out of my comfort zone never really occurred for me until I started volunteering.
I was a “stereotypical” young person, who saw volunteering as a waste of time based on the unpaid nature of giving time to help others.
I’ve learned to truly understand society and the struggles so many people go through, we need to volunteer. Let me re-phrase this…we need to want to volunteer. Volunteering was a joke in my eyes at first. I thought even an hour of my time, would result in an hour being lost and nothing being gained, and yet here I am writing this guest blog.
I went from believing volunteering was a joke to wanting to do more the first hour I gave to a local disability group. I saw first-hand the impact volunteering can have on others, unknown to the benefits it would have on my own life, and I put myself forward to do more hours. Without volunteers, many charities would not be able to deliver their services, resulting in their service users being impacted. It’s a reason why I now volunteer extensively.
Despite my first thoughts, I’ve now been volunteering for the past four and a half years, supporting charities of all sizes. From hosting events, and acting as Chairperson, to now being a spokesperson for volunteering around the world.
Funny isn’t it, how my original perception of volunteering hasn’t only been overruled, but has proven a point, that until you try something in life, never doubt the outcome?
With all of this being said, here’s a few more reasons why you should get involved in volunteering, and how these reasons have impacted my own personal journey.
When I first started to volunteer, I had no confidence, resulting in an isolated life, with not much going for me. Volunteering has given me the confidence to open up about my past life, and use those to deliver talks to universities, be a Keynote Speaker at conferences, and to work with some of the world’s leading charities to amplify both parties’ stories.
I spoke about it briefly above, but volunteering has really given me direction in life. Its opened pathways I never thought would be possible, career opportunities seeing me being interviewed for national roles, and more importantly…purpose. My direction in life now has purpose and a purpose to serve others.
I love being a volunteer as charities give you an opportunity that many employers wouldn’t. No matter your background, your passions or your experience, charities are willing to give you a chance, if you put yourself forward.
Linking in all of the above, progressing as a volunteer is a great feeling. Progressions could come as a level up volunteering role or it could be employment. I’ve been a volunteer to later become an employee for the same company, and so have many of my friends.
Volunteering is a great way to learn, to experience and to help. Without volunteering, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today, and if like me, you have a bad perception about volunteering and believe it’s a waste of time, why don’t you prove it? Go ahead. Sign up to become a volunteer today and you might just fall in love with it. You won’t know until you try!