1. Make a real difference
Unlike anonymous donations, volunteering lets you really see the difference you can make with your own hands. It’s hard to track and watch what your £1 donation does (and where it goes) when it is dropped into a charity bucket at your supermarket or even transferred through regular donations. By volunteering and giving your time and manpower, you can actively participate in a cause you believe in. Whether this is large or small, building a school or teaching in the classrooms, with volunteering you have the power to make a tangible difference.
P.S. Don’t let this stop you donating. The key to being an effective donator is to make sure you do your research. Any charity with a 100% donation policy promises that all of your donations go directly to the cause.
2. Feed the travel fever
No photograph can ever compare to actually visiting somewhere new. An image just can’t quite capture the elements that make a location beautiful and really bring it to life: the smell, the heat, and the way it makes you feel. It can’t be beaten, and it can never be substituted.
Volunteering offers the opportunity to really experience a country and everything it has to offer. Take the advice of the local people that you meet and they will help you experience the sites you want to see with knowledge that can’t be found on the tourist route.
3. The work you do carries on even after you leave
Each year, volunteering programmes get smarter and more effective. In the past, organisations have supported developing countries with handouts of food, money, materials etc. Now as development and education increases, the method of effective volunteering has needed to also change to be more sustainable and successful, not just for the immediate future but for generations to come.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!
4. You’re not in it alone
Nothing bonds people like jumping into a safari truck at sunrise to stalk lions in the sweeping savannahs of the magnificent Maasai Mara. If you are travelling with friends, be prepared to learn more about each other than you ever thought you could! When you’re working and experiencing things together that are out of the ordinary, you will make memories that will last a lifetime.
Additionally, if you are joining a group of solo travellers, don’t be scared! Luckily the other people choosing to volunteer abroad are just as kind and passionate as you are. Only they will understand how seeing the world made you feel and remember the time you dropped your binoculars over the side of the boat! These people will support and encourage you and help make your experience truly memorable. A friend you make whilst volunteering is a friend for life!
5. Use and develop your skills
Sometimes without realising, we all have knowledge and skills that we can use to teach and help others. Volunteering is a great way to offer something valuable to others, whilst also perhaps discovering a new skill that you never knew you had. Maybe you’ll discover that you’re a great leader, an excellent team player, a fab teacher, or have a knack for construction that you never realised! The only thing volunteers need before they go is enthusiasm, everything else is just waiting to be discovered!
6. Stand out for the right reasons
There is something satisfying about having an interesting and unusual story to bring out at social occasions. And volunteering is a great way to make one. If you need this in more of a professional sense, volunteering shows you are committed, thoughtful and not afraid of a challenge. This can be used towards CVs, telling yourself you can do anything and of course, causing a little bit of jealousy. Just remember to not rub it in people’s faces too much!
If you would like to put this into practice and lead a group of young people on an African Adventure, you can find out more here.