I’m a volunteer and these are my values:

I choose…

to live by choice, not by chance;
to make changes, not excuses;
to be motivated, not manipulated;
to be useful, not used;
to excel, not compete.
I choose self-esteem, not self pity.
I choose to listen to my inner voice,
not the random opinion of others.

I choose to volunteer

To all my volunteers

I just want to say you drive me forward. I do what I do because of you. Your loyalty, your support and the satisfaction of working with you keeps me going more than the end result. I am immensely proud of what we achieve. Sometimes it feels that there is so much left undone but if you look at where we are now, you can see how far we have come. So thank you to all of you. Thank you for your commitment and dedication. I would be nowhere without you.


If you are one of my volunteers (or if this strikes a chord anyway) please leave a comment below.

Do you have enough time to change the world?

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.  Andy Warhol

Be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.  H. Jackson Brown, Jr

How can you get a job without having an interview?

Here is the first of two real life examples to help answer that question.

Freshly repatriated from abroad, I found myself unable to return to my previous career. While abroad, like many of the “trailing spouses” I had engaged my brain in voluntary work and for several years I had been an editor. This role kept my computer skills up to date at a time when things were changing fast. On returning to the UK, I was welcomed with open arms at the local primary school when I offered to help in computer lessons. From there I became the official photographer and went on to build a website for the school – all as a volunteer. Little did I know at the time, but these skills were going to be a ticket to a new career direction.

First of all, though, I had to do my apprenticeship. I started teaching basic computer skills to career-break-returners – mostly mums who had been out of the workplace for a while. So ironically, there I was, also in my first job after a break, teaching other adults skills that I’d learnt as a volunteer. At this point, things were going really well and I embarked on the next level of teacher training. And while I was on the training course, one of the tutors spotted me. They noticed that I had previously taught English as a foreign language, while abroad, and was now teaching IT. This was a combination of skills the college had been seeking for some time. On the strength of this they offered me a great job – teaching IT to international students on university foundation courses. And so without even looking, I had landed myself my next post where I spent several satisfying years working with ambitious and interesting young people.

Can you get a job without having an interview? Well, I did. In fact, I’ve never had a job interview! Apart from my first job after university I have not applied for anything I have ever done. All my work has come my way, directly or indirectly, as a result of my volunteering. I’ve made career changes by getting to know people, by people finding out about me by word of mouth and by being in the right place at the right time.

For some other ideas, take a look at Volunteer your time, you may find a job

What useful skills have you learnt as a volunteer? Please leave a comment and tell me.

Are you invisible?

  • Do you coach your kids’ football team every Saturday?
  • Are you a student doing your “volunteering” towards your Duke of Edinburgh award?
  • Have you marshalled at one sports event to get a free entry at another?
  • Are you a parent listening to children read at your own child’s school?
  • Have you joined a neighbourhood working party to clear a pond or maintain a local wild space?

Continue reading

What motivates a volunteer?

All volunteers are unique and have their own set of reasons for volunteering. Here are 5 of the common reasons that make them step forward:

1 To support a team leader or friend that they respect

Don’t underestimate the strength of personal connections.

2 To meet useful people and increase their network

They are looking to see how your volunteering role could benefit them – so sell your ideas so they appeal to the “what’s in it for me” side of potential volunteers.

3 To socialise and take part in an interesting activity

Promote the social side of your opportunities and make sure your teams get along well – and that you have some well-planned activities lined up for them.

4 To support a cause that they believe in

If you are a charity, a children’s school, or local community are you inspiring your own followers and supporters?

5 To be nosy and get some inside info on an organisation

How does a publisher function? What’s it like back stage? Could you be promoting your organisation to appeal to this type of volunteer?

Organisations seeking volunteers are also very different. Do you relate to any of these motives. Do you think your organisation could use one or two of these motives to promote your opportunities?

Please leave a comment and let me know.