What Makes a Good Volunteer?

by Felix Prayogo

So, you decided to volunteer in a social organization. You’re still new to the volunteer world, so you might be worried or confused on what to do, or what you should do. You also might be afraid to ask to other volunteer or your supervisor. In the end you probably won’t do much work and you won’t enjoy volunteering as you should be.

So, what makes a good volunteer? Are there any indicator to it? Probably there are, but for most of the organization, these are the main factor that you can call yourself a success volunteer.

  1. Commitment.
    Consider your schedule first. If you are a full time worker, who work from Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5, it will be better to take weekend program or project. Or also consider the cost, as sometimes you might need to be abroad or in other region to do a voluntary project or program and you are needed to be self-sufficient. For some non-profit organizations, your commitment is priceless. For them, your commitment is the key to their success. No commitment can ruin programs or projects that organizations already make and it’s also bad for your resume, as usually you seems incapable of giving your time for the work you are given. Commitment is one of the key to your success volunteering.
  2. Flexibility
    Combined with your commitment, you have to be flexible. It can means you have to be ready for something so sudden. Sometimes you can be contacted by your supervisor to do a job that need to be done immediately. Sometimes you are also needed by your supervisor to do something that you might have no or little knowledge of, but there are no one available to do it, beside you. Flexibility in volunteering can be in a shape of time and skills. The benefits of you being flexible are you are better in your time management and you also have a new skill or ability to do something that might be useful in the future.
  3. Team Player
    Most of the programs or projects that are ran by organizations are usually ran in team, which mean you have to be a team player. You have to communicate to your supervisor and your colleague volunteers. Being a team player will be advantageous as your work is shared with others. You will also get a bonus of learning how to do things together, and it will be good for your resume as well. One more reason for being a team player, you will strengthen your bond with your co-volunteers, meaning you will get a new network outside from your current circle.
  4. Adaptable
    This one might be hard, but sometimes it’s the major point of being a volunteer. By being adaptable, you are aware of new situations, and you can manage to handle those new situations very well. You are also needed to be adaptable to new working environment, especially if you are volunteering abroad or in other region of your country. Different culture and work ethics will be imposed to you, and being able to adapt to those will greatly help you making your volunteering easier.
  5. Creativity
    Last but not least, creativity. This isn’t necessary if you are volunteering in a short-term, as you are already given a job description by the organization where you volunteer. You might need creativity in a long-term voluntary projects and programs, as you might be encountering new problems and new situations that made you need to think over the plans that you and your team have made. By being creative, you can help tackle problems that happen when you are volunteering and it also helps you as a person, people around you and the organization where you are volunteering, as they might use your solutions for future references.

These are some of the factors you might find from a good volunteer. But these aren’t common standard for a good volunteer, as different organizations need different factors as well. If you think you don’t have most of the factors that have been mentioned in here, you can ask directly to the organization you want to volunteer. You can also check their interview questions when you do the interview with them as you might find what they need or what they are looking for. These factors can be your references, but it might be not 100 percent accurate. So search more for it in the Internet or by asking people who had been volunteering.