Volunteering holds the key to self-fulfillment

If someone had asked you to do a days work for no pay a few years ago, you probably would have laughed it off.

But did you know that more than six million people or 36% of Australians aged over 18 take part in voluntary work each year?

Even though there may not be the usual financial gain at the finish line, volunteering is the perfect way to self-improvement. People report greater levels of satisfaction and fulfilment.

66-year old Matilda Di Certi is semi-retired and regularly volunteers.

“My enjoyment in volunteering began with the Sydney 2000 Olympics. I had just cut back from full-time to part-time work and I had heard about a friend of mine who was volunteering at the Olympics. I signed up and just got so much personal satisfaction from helping out with one of the biggest events our nation has seen,” she said.

She continues to volunteer at major national sport and arts events whenever she can.

“Volunteering keeps my mind and body active and makes me feel like I’m part of something much bigger,” she added.

Statistics also show that more women than men volunteer and the group with the highest rates of volunteering is aged between 45 and 54.

Sport and physical recreation organisations are the most common type that people volunteer for while others include:

• Community/welfare
• Religious groups
• Parenting, children and youth

How to get started volunteering

If you’ve thought about volunteering, but don’t know where to start visit volunteeringaustralia.org as a first port of call.

Another way to get onto the volunteering path is to ask yourself what you are passionate about. Are there any causes close to your heart that you never had the time for? What skills could you contribute? Speak to peers and family. They might be able to give you some inspiration or direction.

Volunteering can be what you make of it. You can give your time to large-scale organisations and events like museums, charities and concerts or smaller local events and organisations such as fairs, schools, councils and churches.
Always remember to do what suits you. Before you sign up, ask yourself how much time you want to devote and don’t over-commit yourself if you are unsure and haven’t volunteered before.

Below are some charitable organisations you might want to approach for volunteering: