There are loads of benefits to volunteering. Aside from the warm and fuzzy feeling you get from giving back, it gives you a sense of accomplishment, helps you gain perspective, and is a great way to develop new skills.
It can also help you get a job. Research by Deloitte found that 82% of employers are likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience over one that doesn’t, and 85% of those are willing to overlook other CV flaws when a candidate includes volunteer work on their CV.
This is particularly pertinent if you’re considering moving from the corporate to the charity sector. A year of voluntary work will put you in a much stronger position to compete with experienced charity fundraisers – particularly if you have strong, transferable skills.
But that’s not all. Here are four other ways volunteering can help you bag your dream charity job.
1. It’ll add depth to your CV
When was the last time you heard someone complain about a person being too helpful and community-minded? That’s right, never.
People who choose to volunteer tend to share some common traits: they’re empathetic, passionate about helping others, and motivated by things other than money.
These are attractive qualities to any employer, and they’re key traits for a job in fundraising.
Adding volunteering experience to your CV will show potential employers you have these essential qualities in spades, and
2. It allows you to ‘dip your toe’ in a new career
Volunteering offers a unique opportunity to gain experience in a new field/role, at no risk to you, or the charity.
Maybe you know you want to be a fundraiser, but you’re passionate about several causes and don’t know which to focus on. Volunteering enables you to explore each without making a long-term commitment. For example, if you’re passionate about helping to find a cure for cancer, why not dedicate some time to your local Macmillan group? If you’re obsessed with animals, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home are always on the lookout for help. Passionate about climate change? Contact Friends of the Earth. You get the idea.
You’ll soon find out which cause you’re most drawn to.
Volunteering can also help you figure out what you want from your working environment. For example, perhaps you like the idea of working for a large international organisation, but once there, you realise you’d be more comfortable at a small, family run organisation. If you’d jumped into a paid role at a huge charity, you’d be stuck.
Having a clear idea of the sort of job and environment you want will enable you to be more discerning in your job search.
It’ll also help you back up interview answers with industry-specific examples.
3. It’ll hone your skills
As well as equipping you with the skills that many companies look for, volunteering can help you hone a range of important workplace attributes, such as communication, teamwork and using your initiative.
Let’s face it: no-ones perfect. We all need to brush up on some skills.
4. It can fill gaps on your CV
There are many reasons why you might have a gap on your CV. Maybe you were made redundant, fired, or you quit a job as it wasn’t a good fit.
Regardless of the reason, CV gaps are a red flag to employers. They may see you as an unreliable hire who doesn’t stick at roles. So, anything you can do to minimise their impact is crucial.
Volunteering is a fantastic thing to do and put on your CV while you’re between jobs.
5. It offers great networking opportunities
Volunteering is a great way to expand your network.
As a volunteer, you may well be invited to events, meetings, and/or have the opportunity to talk to employees about their roles and experience. Make a good impression and you may also get the ‘inside scoop’ on upcoming recruitment.
Keep a list of the contacts you make, from staff and board members, to fellow volunteers, and suppliers. You never know who might help you in the future.
Where to start
Donating your time to a charity is just as meaningful and important as making a cash donation. But, with approximately 169,000 registered charities in the UK, how do you decide which to volunteer for?
Think about your goals. How much time can you give, and what do you want to achieve from it? Boost your network? Develop transferable skills? Or explore different working environments?
The opportunities that match your goals and interests will give you the most beneficial and rewarding experience.
Looking for work?
If you’ve done some volunteering and want to pursue a career in fundraising, call us on 0203 750 3111 for a chat.