I also feel strongly that organisations which take on volunteers should provide lots in return to their volunteers and definitely not substitute paid professional roles for volunteers! CILIP have an excellent policy statement on using volunteers in public library services, but the principles will apply in other sectors too.
My experiences of professional volunteering have mainly been on CILIP Special Interest Group Committees at divisional and national level. These roles have provided me with wider professional knowledge, energy and transferable skills (chairing meetings, taking minutes, organising events etc). At the same time they have always been fun, confidence building and have left me with a network of fabulous, supportive and amazing contacts. I appreciate that the "day job" is becoming increasingly pressurised, stressful and burdensome. And although volunteering adds to these, it also provides huge rewards of wider perspectives, a different working regime, and a whole load of professional reassurance or inspiration. Although it can be hard work, for me at least, it's good to wear a number of "different hats".
|Wearing a different hat. Rhododendron clearing in Snowdonia.|
Copyright of the Author.