Understanding Skill-Based Volunteering

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

Volunteers who engage in skill-based volunteering have specific skill sets and experience that closely matches the requirements and needs of a volunteering organisation. A stereotype of volunteering is that it involves only menial labour. However, in skill-based volunteering, the knowledge of these volunteers like public relations or healthcare is necessary for specific roles and projects.

Skill-based volunteering allows the volunteer to keep their skills fresh and at the same time enhances organisations through the expertise of these volunteers: a win-win situation. Many times, volunteering organisations will have to hire individuals to do the jobs that require specific skills.

Through skill-based volunteering, organisations have the option to direct the funds to ways that can better their cause. Skill-based volunteering can also provide the opportunity to pick up new skills or develop existing ones as the challenges faced in a non-profit organisation differs from companies

Many skills are needed to help keep non-profits running and better able to serve their cause. If you are good at cooking, food banks and soup kitchens are a good way to contribute your skills that directly benefits the beneficiaries. On the other hand, consulting can be helpful for the internal processes of volunteering organisations.

Organisations are always looking for people with a variety of skills from different areas of life. Some of the more popular skills required are marketing, graphic design, event management, facilitation and project management.

Some skills are more specialised and useful for specific causes while general skills can be helpful for multiple volunteering organisations. Depending on what type of skills you have, you have to decide which volunteering organisation to sign up for. Skills like teaching will be more applicable to youth and children centered organisations where your skills are put to use in volunteering roles like mentoring. Similarly, pro bono legal work would require qualified lawyers to volunteer for. Other skills like photography are useful in helping volunteering organisation increase their visibility and fundraise. Such skills will be needed in multiple organisations.

Some volunteering organisations will require an interview or application form before offering you a volunteering role. This is to judge how to the best place you within their organisation. Mentioning the skills you possess will allow you a better chance of getting a skill-based role. Organisations also indicate what kind of skills they require in their volunteer recruitment so keep a lookout when searching for volunteering opportunities.

Sources: Common Impact, Company of Good

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