The Power of Volunteering: Building Belonging and Community Connection

Alice Duthie

Lifestyle Writer

Jan 17, 2024

Ashleigh Meikle shares why we should all engage in volunteering efforts.

Volunteering is important for individuals and organisations.  A University of Sydney study says volunteering can give people a sense of belonging and connection to a community. I feel connected to a community with the volunteering I do. I volunteer in a welcoming place advocating for good. Volunteering also provides a range of new skills for many jobs.

I have been volunteering for about nine and a half years with various organisations. The organisation I have been with the longest is the Cancer Council NSW as an administrative volunteer where I have uploaded data, written advocacy blogs. It has been such a positive experience over the past nine years. Volunteering Australia states that volunteering has benefits for individuals, the community, and the nation. Cancer Council NSW volunteers are 80% of the workforce. It is a positive and engaging place to volunteer because the team I work with is inclusive and understanding, and we manage our communication well.

Cancer Council NSW volunteers work on events, in the office, and on advocacy in one-off or ongoing positions that can result in years-long relationships with the organisation and their local offices. Whether you’re an events day volunteer, working on a blog for advocacy, or helping at a Daffodil Day stall or Relay for Life events, volunteering allows you to give back to the community and a worthwhile organisation and meet people, make connections, and gain skills in a friendly and joyful way.  Volunteers also benefit the running of the organisation.

Aroha Nisbett, Community Advocacy Lead with Cancer Council NSW says that volunteering increases the resource capacity of the organisation so they can undertake more projects, and she says that it brings the community into the organisation to get feedback on what Cancer Council NSW does. Advocacy relies on volunteers to engage with MPs and the community, as an MP will only talk to someone within their electorate. Advocacy volunteers aim to create effective connections to encourage MPs to act on advocacy campaigns. Having this community connection and support from volunteers is important for effective advocacy, and overall, Aroha said that volunteers play a crucial role in the overall running of the organisation.

Belle Alderman is the Director of the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature said that as a volunteer-run organisation, volunteers are essential, Their roles range from face-to-face, external, and some are focused on special. I worked on a special project writing profiles about their databases and resources, but has turned into a more permanent role, collecting, and sending items about Australian children’s books to them. Volunteers write reports, create newsletters, catalogue books, and apply for grants, amongst many other tasks. The NCACL would not survive without the hard work and dedication of all of its volunteers. Organisations like the NCACL and Cancer Council NSW would not run without volunteers.

Getting out there and volunteering will help you and your chosen organisation physically and emotionally.

Top Ten Places to Work as a Volunteer:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Alice Duthie

Lifestyle Writer

Alice Duthie is a beauty and lifestyle writer for The Carousel. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Sydney, majoring in Marketing and Business Information Systems.

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