Why volunteer? Apart from that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from doing something for someone else, people choose to volunteer for many reasons – because they are passionate about the cause, or because they want something to put on their resume, to name a few. But the best thing about volunteering is knowing that you are using your time in a more constructive way – the Playstation can wait.
There are thousands of worthy causes in Australia so the hardest part is choosing your charity or non-profit organisation. You should have a good idea of what you would like to achieve before you select one. If you are volunteering for work experience, it makes sense to choose a charity that is related to the industry you would like to crack. If you would like to help institute change, then Amnesty International, Oxfam or a similar charity would be a good start. Once you've chosen a charity, simply call them and ask if they are taking on volunteers.
If you're not sure where to start, there are many agencies throughout Australia helping to place volunteers with businesses.
Seek.Com has a volunteers section that works like their usual job board – applicants enter their details and receive a list of volunteer vacancies. Seek.Com is probably the best site for work experience posts, as you can choose from industries like education, social justice and health and welfare.
Volunteering Australia is a national organisation with state chapters. Unlike Seek.Com, which just advertises volunteering positions, Volunteering Australia actually works to place volunteers. There's a wide range of programs and businesses to choose from but if you can't find what you're looking for today, simply register your profile and check back later.
Volunteering is unlike a normal job, where you work 9-5 with a half hour break for lunch in the middle. You can choose your hours, whether it's a full day or just a few hours in the afternoon. You should choose something that's unrelated to your real job, as it might start to feel like work after awhile.
They say that the measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members; at the risk of sounding corny, by volunteering, you are helping to make Australia a better place.