In this 3-minute video, Sara La Rocca, a volunteer in various nonprofit organizations, shares about how she picks a volunteering activity and how she maintains the joy of giving.
Joanna: How do you pick a volunteering opportunity? Where do you go, and how do you qualify the group that you want to volunteer with?
Sara: Go for something that you' at least feel comfortable–because it is something that you are passionate about. For me, it's been that I also get to push my boundaries a bit, to be honest. So I went for things that we're not in my comfort zone at all. But it depends as to what you want to get out of that experience.
So maybe start where you're passionate about, and then you see how it feels there. Then Google. You know there's so many NGO in Singapore—non-profits. It will come up, and something will catch your eye for sure, you will find something. I feel like, “Oh that could be interesting!” and then yeah again you will meet people, and probably they're also volunteering outside of that so that's how you will be introduced to other aspects that can take you around.
Joanna: So basically, you Googled these groups or your interest areas.
Sara: Yea, that was my thing.
Joanna: And then did you cold call them?
Sara: I will email. So I will narrow it down to two or three organizations that I could give my time to. So it's not really about spreading yourself thin within an organization, it will be about choosing one or two and trying to build a relationship with them.
Joanna: That's great! That's very insightful and very practical.
Now I want to ask you Sara about how you maintain that position or posture of cheerful giving. Because most people develop a habit out of giving, which is good, but the disadvantage or the trouble with that sometimes is some of us become indifferent towards the act of giving. What do you practice so that you don't end up going that way so that every time you do it or at least most of the time that you volunteer your time or you give your resources, you're still feeling cheerful and happy about it?
Sara: Maintain the habit of volunteering but experience something new. Experiencing new ways of doing it and yeah experience different ways where you can give your time. It could be something else. It could be exploring in your organization and expanding your social skills and then go back to what you like and you know to experience different things. Yeah, all of the organizations appreciate volunteering your time, but it's also a commitment that you make, and you have to be serious when you volunteer. So if you feel you're not at that serious point anymore then maybe it's bound to change.
Joanna: I agree that it's almost like, you know, doing a job with passion. That when you commit to volunteering, you have to make sure that you're doing it excellently because someone else who can do it better is not given a chance to do it because you've already taken that slot, right?
Sara: Absolutely, I totally agree. I think once you commit you have to follow through, you can't leave halfway because then it's the cost of the organization that suffers from it. I think it's important to stick to your commitment. If you commit to five days, do five days. And then at the end of those five days take your time to reconsider if you want to go on or not, but organizations rely on volunteers heavily most of the time. It's a serious commitment.
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