When I hear the word ‘volunteering’ I think of giving oneself to a greater cause, a way of making a difference. It’s more than a photo-op, narcissistic, self-serving, resume boosting act of of kindness.

Have you ever taken a second to ask yourself; why am I really helping? This is a simple yet critical question that one must ask themselves before signing-up for the next volunteer activity.

Volunteering is not about making yourself feel good, it’s about bringing joy into the lives of other.

In order for your volunteering services to be truly an act of kindness and not a waste of time, consider the following:

Keep an open- minded attitude.

If you’re coming from a first world and an extremely developed country, please try to keep an open mind when you travel to different communities that are less developed. Don’t go with the attitude of “I know it all”, instead learn how things are conducted locally and offer your skills and experiences as a complementary approach. Think about it this way: just because things work one way in your own culture, it does not mean it will work the same way in another.

1. Keep your expectations realistic.
Remember that change takes time… sometimes, a lot of time. So, keep your expectations of what you can accomplish realistic. Don’t feel bad or guilty about yourself if you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do. Keep a positive attitude!

2. Be informed, do your research.
I cannot stress the importance of this point. Please, please, do your research of the country you are traveling to. Learn about what their current politics are, and what your own countries involvement in their politics is! This is crucial especially if you are coming from one of the world’s wealthier and politically strong nations like the US. Also, learn about their culture, norms, and habits and what’s acceptable and what’s not.

3. And finally make smart choices.
Before starting your volunteer program, make sure you know and understand how the organization you are volunteering with are intending to sustain your efforts and expand on your work. Lastly, make the best out of your experience for your own benefit and the benefit of the community you will be working with.

Our primary goal at Crowdster is to further the mission of the non-profits we serve. Volunteerism is important to the Crowdster family. To learn more about the fundraising capabilities at Crowdster, please click here and a member of our team will reach out.

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