Three reasons why I like volunteering for local IT charities.

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by McDonald, T. | Last updated 30th of November 2017

You may have noticed the huge numbers of charities in the UK or supported a charity by donating to it, but have you ever wondered what it would be like to volunteer for a local charity? Although collecting money is important in its self, there are many more exciting and potentially life changing roles within most charities. I have volunteered on and off for most of my life because I get so much out of this underestimated experience. I like volunteering for the following reasons: supporting others with their technology needs makes me feel a part of the community; I get to meet interesting people at promotional events; it shows a perspective employer I have a willingness to work and use skills I am learning at university in a positive and constructive way.
Bearded man holding books

Firstly, I like volunteering because supporting others with their technology needs makes me feel that I am a part of the community. For instance, in my role as Digital Champion at Cambridge Online, I support all different types of people in the local community with to develop basic computer skills, which means I have to communicate with people one to one. Sometimes I may even support someone to renew his or her bus pass. OK, so you may think that renewing a bus pass is easy, but what if you have never needed to use a computer before or do not have a computer, what then? It is easy to forget that some people in the community have never needed to use a computer, yet find that as the world moves on more and more things such as shopping, accessing local council services or renewing a bus are done online. For these reasons, I feel a part of the community because I am in a position to help or support others with their technology needs because I am happy to help my fellow human being; subsequently, people in the local community get to know me.

Large group of people with the words me supporting cambridge online
Secondly, I like volunteering because I get to meet interesting people at promotional events. I also volunteer as Ambassador for Cambridge online, which means I go to events and talk with others about the charity and explain what we do. As a result, I end up meeting people who volunteer and have interesting paid jobs. Furthermore, I never know whom I might meet at an event; I could meet a councillor, a politician or even the Mayor. I might even meet a scientist or business guru! Of cause, this may not be for you; however, the point is I get to meet people who I otherwise might never meet. Likewise, I get to meet people in similar situations to me. While at these events, which sometimes involves training, I get to hear about the community I live in from an entirely different perspective; in other words, different from the perspective of the media. It is important to realise meeting people with different hobbies, talents, and what you can learn from them can be interesting to say the least!
Black keyboard
D pad controller with keyboard and AS maths revision bookFinally, I like volunteering because it shows a potential employer I have a willingness to work and use skills I am learning at university in a positive and constructive way. Although I never stretched my computer skills, I do get an opportunity to introduce people to the delights of computing. Not everyone knows how to use a keyboard; for example, did you know it is possible to use shift+ctrl+T to reopen a recently closed tab in a browser, or that alt+3 on a Mac keyboard prints #? In addition to volunteering as Digital Champion and Ambassador for Cambridge Online, I also volunteer as a Social media Surgeon at Cambridge net squared, which involves setting up and explaining how to manage social media accounts. Running a social media account is not as straight forward as it looks since it is of the utmost importance for business and charities to get noticed. Furthermore, business and charity accounts need to show exquisite netiquette, online manners, all of the time and need to grab people’s attention in order to promote their product. In general, I support people to use a wide range of basic computer skills from using a computer for the first time to managing a social media account. Even though all the volunteering positions I currently hold involve speaking to the public and explaining technical jargon, each position uses a noticeably different skill set. For example, while supporting someone to use a computer for the first time involves patients and explaining a lot of technical terminology, networking at a promotional event involves a lot of explaining what the charity does and listening to others ideas. Subsequently, I do get to use some of the skills I learn from a University education. Nevertheless, I still have many skills that I am keen to utilise, notably, programming and computational skills. With all this in mind, a potential employer can see that I have skills and experience with people from many different backgrounds and in different situations from social networking to explaining technical terminology to a beginner, which all goes towards using my skills in a positive way in the community.

I feel a part of the community, I get to meet interesting people at promotional events, a potential employer can see my willingness to work, and I use skills I am learning at university in positive and constructive ways, which are all reasons why I like volunteering in the local community. Consequently, I am likely to continue volunteering even after finding the ideal job although I will not be able to volunteer as many hours.

My volunteering CV

If you have any question about volunteering, I will be happy to answer them. Just leave a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Cambridge online is a worthwhile charity that always needs funding in order to keep providing quality support to people from all types of backgrounds and abilities. If you would like to make a donation please follow this link or you can make a donation here. Thank you, Cambridge Online greatly appreciates every donation.

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