Volunteers are wonderful and often bring a variety of tools, skills and expertise to the organisation they choose to support. So let’s see just what volunteers keep in their toolbox both figuratively and literally!
Volunteers are invariably the cog in the machine that is your organisation. They often take up a minor role within it, but if they weren’t there how would you function? If you rely on volunteers to provide a service and they aren’t there for some reason this can mean a drop in service and disappointed clients
Many volunteers are campaigners, challenging inequalities or injustice and putting a spanner in the works! Look at the volunteers who start petitions etc. to organise others into objecting to building on a greenbelt area, a social injustice etc.
Other volunteers quite literally get stuck in with a spanner e.g. volunteering for a cycle recycling project, helping rejuvenate old or damaged bicycles to give to a child or young person who could not afford one otherwise.
Volunteers will often hammer a point home to encourage others to join a cause or raise awareness. Volunteering for one of the many charities supporting health related conditions such as fibromyalgia or dementia means they make have to challenge misconceptions and spread accurate information.
Helping at a repair café and mending broken or damaged chairs etc. is a practical use of this volunteer tool.
Service users are often asked to step in on a voluntary basis to see if services measure up e.g. accessibility, inclusivity etc.
Volunteers can also use their measuring skills helping to bake cakes for a fundraiser or helping with sewing group.
Volunteers living in particular areas may identify local issues in communities, researching what’s happening and drilling down to the causes, before they start tackling them e.g. lack of skills, lack of awareness, people not working together to tackle problems etc.
In practical terms a volunteer with a drill could be a lifesaver for someone vulnerable or elderly, who does not want workmen in their home. Local Age UK have DIY small tasks volunteers who can call on an older person by prior arrangement and assist by putting up smoke alarms, changing door handles etc.
Volunteers with social media skills are in high demand as they can help to paint a picture of an organisation and tell their stories. This will help to raise an organisation’s profile and potentially attract more volunteers or clients.
People with painting sills are always in demand. Teams of staff from companies are often keen to help a not-for-profit with some decorating. A team of willing volunteers wielding a paintbrush can soon freshen up a tired looking space.
Everyone knows that volunteers invariably bring enthusiasm in spades and new volunteers joining an existing team can help bring fresh skills and ideas which will benefit the organisation.
In practical terms there are plenty of gardening and environmental projects who could benefit from this enthusiasm and a volunteer who’s handing with a spade!
If you would like to see how local people are giving their time to help develop creative spaces in Dudley, why not visit Gather Dudley’s page to see just what tools they are using?