With various posters for National Volunteer Week (NVW; (May 8 - 14) springing up around Perth and all over Australia, volunteering might be on your mind.
We've all volunteered to finish the leftover chocolate, shout someone a coffee or even to offer our time because it was a prerequisite in high school but how many of us continue to volunteer outside those usual experiences?
Statistics show it's quite a lot of us. The good news is around six million Australians volunteer annually*. The bad news is that this figure is in decline and there is a volunteer deficit for those aged between 18 and 34, that sweet spot when our lives are essentially our own and any commitments to study, recreational activities, work and volunteering fall into our own hands.
*(ABS General Social Survey)
Photo above: Laura at Bindaring Sale 2016
If you need something done, ask the busy person.
As someone whose day is already very full I can understand other people's hesitation to sign up to offer their time for something new and without immediately obvious benefits. However from this same position I can assure you volunteering is rewarding in more ways than one. Whether you want to give back to the community, make friends, be part of a team, assist others less fortunate than yourself, gain confidence and self esteem, get work experience, build on or learn new skills, socialise, help the environment, enhance your resume or something else, it is surprising how volunteering can slide into your life without upsetting the balance. In fact from my own experience, I've found that getting involved in a volunteering environment that suits me allows me to make the most of these opportunities.
I had volunteered for the Bindaring Red Cross Unit a number of times over the last few years but it wasn't until 2015 I really made the most of the opportunities available. In February 2015 I got involved in the social media side of the marketing and found myself learning, sharing and loving the experience. At first I was involved in the Bindaring Instagram campaign and later the development of the new Bindaring website. Picture a girl with a camera, a car full of designer clothes, some gorgeous volunteer models and a notepad - that was me, cruising the local neighbourhood for locations to shoot some of the amazing items on offer that year.
Photo Right: Volunteers sort clothes 2016
The Bindaring team essentially provided me free reign on aspects of the campaign so long as I checked in. Their extraordinary support throughout my involvement made the experience one of a kind. With the help of an intelligent, generous, creative and highly motivated management we were able to get some fantastic efforts off the ground and into the realm of digital marketing. It sounds cliche but I can honestly say I got more out of the experience than I could possibly have given.
Needless to say I was back again in 2016.
The team at Bindaring are highly flexible, professional and supportive. I would recommend anyone interested in getting involved to contact the team via the website or otherwise. Every set of hands is a major help to the team and if you happen to have some 'out of the box' ideas or would like to volunteer skills which may fall outside the usual realm of volunteering don't hesitate to let the team know.
Photo Above: Volunteers on Sale Day 2016
Alternatively, if you have time and would like to get involved with a social, friendly and community conscious group of Bindaring volunteers in the lead up the to sale or on the day please send your details in! The sale is always a lot of fun and anyone can get involved at any time. You never know what new skills you might pick up along the way or where your current skill set might lead you!
Volunteering throughout the year
There are a diverse range of volunteering opportunities available at Bindaring and for Red Cross throughout the year. If you would like to volunteer at the clothing sale, at a soup kitchen, to donate blood or otherwise there is no better time to get involved. More volunteer opportunities are available at the Australian Red Cross website. Just click the "get involved" tab for more details!
Photo Right: Still Volunteering!
3 of the founders in 2016