When we hear the word volunteering, many of us think of people helping by picking up litter, serving hot meals at soup kitchens or guiding visitors during sporting events. However, there is another type of volunteering on the rise; it is called skills-based volunteering (SBV). By doing things you are good at, and hopefully, enjoy, you can help others.
Whatever your skills are, you are likely to have abilities that could benefit others. You just need to take that first step. Perhaps you are inspired by an experienced business woman who mentors others who are starting their own business, people volunteering their time to get a head-start in life by learning new skills or professional divers giving something back to their local community.
No matter what stage of life you are at, there is an opportunity to provide skills-based volunteering; be it a recent school graduate, experienced professional or a keen sports person.
Becoming a Business Mentor
If you spend every day, year-around, working in a professional role, you may be involved in making decisions on mergers and acquisitions, planning marketing strategies and dealing with personnel issues.
Anyone starting their own company would find your experience and network invaluable. By taking your skills, skills you probably take for granted and sharing them with others starting a new company, you would provide them with an amazing advantage.
Being a business mentor includes meeting and supporting someone by meeting them on a regular basis and providing them with support to develop and grow their business. Your real-life skills and experience would also make you a great person to bounce ideas off, and for them to share their thoughts and concerns with. By believing in them, you can empower them to make decisions about the business they are setting up and driving. Finally, your business network will probably open many doors for them, should they need it.
Volunteering and Learning Life Skills
People are also giving some of their time to help their local communities and as a result, they gain access to a wide range of learning opportunities. Under one “head-start” scheme in the U.K., the aim is for everyone to volunteer at least 16 hours of their time, with many doing considerably more than that.
The learning opportunities can include exclusive workshops and events focusing on teaching others life skills as well as enhancing their interpersonal and employability skills. Companies like Starbucks, New Look, Bloomberg, GLA, Zendesk and Berkeley are involved in the program. Those who volunteer the required minimum of 16 hours are also guaranteed a job interview with one of the supporting companies.
Use Your Diving Skills
If you’ve had enough of the office environment and want to find other areas where you can share your skills, try moving to the outdoors and more specifically, the sea. Perhaps you are one of the millions of people who dive when you are on holiday, ideally in warm water with abundant sea life and clear visibility.
Now imagine that you live on a small island in the Irish Sea between the U.K. and Ireland where you are surrounded by the sea, with around 100 miles of partly exposed and rugged coastline. Living on a small island, concerned locals always the worry that someone could end up in the sea without the proper skills to handle the situation. After a tragic accident, a group of divers got together to make sure it never happens again. This is another example of how you could use your skills to help your local community.
Inspire Others by Being You
Communities and organizations around you are likely to be looking for the skills that you take for granted; things that you do without even thinking about it. By taking a step back and evaluating the skills you have developed during your work and free time, you too could inspire others while giving something back. Also, it provides a great opportunity to network with new people and possibly even learn something new yourself.