Why should you consider volunteering?

Volunteering is more than simply doing a job or performing a task without payment. It’s about giving your time, your knowledge, and your skills – three of the most valuable things you can offer – to help others. CIWM’s Professional Services Team tells us why you might consider volunteering.

Many people dedicate their time to volunteering to engage with their local community, give back to society, learn new skills and do good in the world. As a Charity and Professional Body, CIWM benefits from the dedication and commitment of hundreds of volunteers from across our network who get involved in things like mentoring, committees, CIWM Centres and events.

As part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments, more employers are offering employer-supported volunteering days where employees of an organisation can take time off to volunteer during work hours; particularly where the volunteer activity aligns to the organisations purpose.

What have we been up to?

To celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day 2022, the CIWM Professional Services Team used one of our employer-supported volunteering days to help the Northampton Hope Centre. This is a great local community charity that works with people affected by poverty and exclusion. They provide a range of support services and training for those affected by homelessness, addiction, and poor mental health.

During our volunteering day, we sorted donated bags for hand-ups (to support the homeless), charity shops and recycling.

This aligned our organisational purpose, to move the world beyond waste, with our social responsibility work. Our day was spent in the charity’s donations warehouse, where we picked through clothes, shoes, toys, and household items to identify those of value which could be sold in charity shops, those which would be valuable for homeless people locally (like warm jackets, gloves, and socks), and those which would best be passed on to a recycling partner.

What did we learn from the experience?

We have a greater understanding and consideration of the huge impact reuse and refurbishment will have as part of the circular economy. We also identified a need for more training across the sector to support the transition to the circular economy, particularly for staff and volunteers of charities working in this space. These individuals will need to understand how you sort the feedstock to identify high value furniture or bric-a-brac that can be priced and sold or upgraded or cleaned.

The volunteering also strengthened our bond as a team – having an opportunity to spend time with each other outside of the day job, finding out who our natural ‘organisers’ and ‘doers’ are, and having some fun in the process.

Perhaps our greatest learning was that volunteering feels fantastic! It was a long and physical day, but we all came away from it feeling that we’d made a positive contribution, and the energy that gave us as a team and as individuals has been great.

“Volunteers play a huge part of what we do here at the Hope Centre. We rely on our volunteers to help support all the wonderful services we provide to often marginalised members of our society. It’s something that can be done on your own or as part of a group. Getting your team out of the usual environment to work on something together can bring lots of rewards and even fun! It can bring a real sense of purpose back into your life with added benefits such as an increase in self-esteem and pride in your achievements. Volunteers are crucial for organisations such as ours to carry on the work we do and helping improve people’s lives all around us.” Michelle Smith, the Hope Centre

Why should you consider volunteering?

  • It enables you to help others and have a positive impact on your local community and environment.
  • It builds confidence by providing a feeling of achievement.
  • It builds interpersonal and communication skills by providing opportunities to engage with other people.
  • It can help you maintain positive mental and physical health.
  • It can help to expand your network of contacts.
  • It gives you the opportunity to discover a new career path.
  • It gives you the opportunity to try new challenges to develop transferable skills and experiences.

Are there opportunities to volunteer with CIWM?

Like many other membership organisations, CIWM has hundreds of volunteers across the UK and beyond who donate their time, skills, and expertise to support the Institution and its members. Volunteers are central to the life and culture of CIWM and play a vital role at every level within our organisation.

Each year without fail, our volunteers show their dedication to the resources and waste sector by committing their time to supporting our organisation in a way that promotes and encourages best practice – not just within CIWM, but throughout the sector.

To find out more about volunteering opportunities with CIWM, click here.

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