I’m proud to be a fundraiser … and a volunteer
To mark International Volunteer Day, Jamie McIntosh reflects on how he's benefited from volunteering at the IoF - and more widely.
5 December 2018 is International Volunteer Day. We’ve all marked out Volunteers’ Week in the first week of June, but this day is becoming more popular globally. It recognises the value of volunteers and volunteering in all its forms. This year the IoF is marking International Volunteer Day by celebrating the work of their volunteers from the fundraising community that make the IoF what it is today.
I volunteer … a lot! I’m a Trustee (Elder at Linlithgow: St. Michael’s Parish Church), youth leader (Captain of 2nd Linlithgow Boys’ Brigade) and an Institute of Fundraising volunteer (Treasurer of the Scottish Individual Giving Special Interest Group). There’s a saying ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person’. This is true of volunteering; Helping Out, a national survey of volunteering and charitable giving, found that 71% of volunteers do more than one volunteering activity.
So what’s the big incentive for giving up your time? Personally, I’ve found there are plenty of reasons I continue to volunteer and even take on more volunteering responsibility. First and foremost, I volunteer because I enjoy it rather than wanting something back. However, volunteering has loads of benefits that I simply couldn’t find anywhere else.
Life experience: I’ve had amazing experiences that I would never have had, if I hadn’t volunteered. Meeting HRH Prince Edward was amazeballs (not that I’m name dropping!) when I volunteered on a capital campaign.
Helping me grow as a person: It helps my continual professional development. Many charities are cash strapped and can’t afford to send you on fancy training courses. Volunteering lets you learn skills and experience ‘on the job’.
And it’s fun! As a volunteer I meet others who share my passions and interests, making friends along the way.
Some people are put off volunteering because they think it's a life commitment – when you fill a role, you only stop volunteering when you find someone to take over from you. This couldn’t be more wrong! In the same way that it’s unusual for millennials to work for the same company all of their life, it’s the same for volunteering. That’s why volunteering has changed.
VOLUNTEERING FITS AROUND YOUR LIFE
More roles are fixed-term, so you agree a volunteer end-date when you start volunteering. If life is busy you’re not limited to two choices: volunteer or stop. You can change your volunteer hours – instead of volunteering every week you can volunteer share (like a job share) or you can join a volunteer rota. If you ever feel pressured to give up volunteering, chat to the place where you volunteer. You may be able to change how you volunteer.
VOLUNTEERING WITH THE INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING
I’m proud to be one of over 500 Institute of Fundraising volunteers (when you add up Trustees, groups, committees and Convention volunteers) and have been Treasurer of the Scottish Individual Giving Special Interest Group for 6 years now.
Our committee is made up of volunteers who dedicate their time and expertise to help reach thousands of fundraisers across Scotland. We organise learning and training events on individual giving topics – everything from digital giving to direct marketing, and major donors to mid-level giving. The IoF have roles that fit around work and life, and we’re always on the lookout for volunteers to join our committee – get in touch with us to know more.
Have I persuaded you that it's good to volunteer?!
IoF members can check out the regional and special interest group pages to find a local group that fits their expertise. Contact the group directly using the 'contact group' tab, and find out how you can contribute to the fundraising community in your area.