In the Insider’s Guide to Volunteering we explain that you can’t make a difference in 2 weeks or 2 months (and even 2 years is pushing it—poverty is a complex problem), but we explain that what you can and will do is contribute your skills and experience to a group of people who collectively, over time, make a huge difference.
If you view your contribution in isolation, you may think it was negligible. But you’re not volunteering in isolation (in most cases), you’re part of a group and it’s the combined efforts of many hands that make a difference.
It’s like the proverbial first step in a journey. If you don’t take one, two or ten steps, you won’t take a thousand steps—you won’t go anywhere. Each volunteer is taking a few steps to advance the cause. Maybe you take 353 steps instead of the 790 you could have taken during the same time at home. But, as a group of people who come and go over time, you’re taking thousands of steps together, that otherwise could not have been taken. Together, you’re leaving a positive footprint for those whose lives will slowly change over time. That’s the difference you will make. And you may make some of the best friendships of your life too. They don’t tell you that about volunteering, but the people I met are now some of my best friends—that was an unexpected bonus.
These and many other tips—22 pages actually—are included in the Insider’s Guide to Volunteering. We’re releasing it next week—just in time for Christmas. Sign up by email in the top right hand corner (it takes 3 minutes) if you’d like to be informed the moment it’s available to download and be truly empowered before making a decision. In January, we’ll be starting a series of how you can make a difference in lives of people less fortunate, at home in your own country, or anywhere in the world, from home. Look out for the too.