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Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Volunteer?

By: Leigh Sexton - Updated: 5 Mar 2015 | comments*Discuss
Volunteer Skills Work Roles Strengths

Sometimes it’s daunting to step up and volunteer your services, especially if life has not filled you with confidence about your skills and abilities. Volunteering is good for helping the shyer or less advantaged individuals in society to explore their capacities but it can be difficult to judge your own strengths and weaknesses objectively. This questionnaire explores what qualities a volunteer needs and how to find the right volunteer role for you, regardless of your character, circumstances and training.

Which of these do you think is the most important mix of qualities for a volunteer?

  1. Reliability, integrity, confidence.
  2. Compassion, commitment, self-confidence.
  3. Enthusiasm, common sense, sensitivity.

Which of these personality trait groups sounds most like your own?

  1. Practical, technical, good with hands and problem-solving.
  2. Intuitive, creative, imaginative and fun to be with.
  3. Quiet, sympathetic, non-judgemental, loyal.

When something goes wrong and you’re alone, do you?

  1. Get on with sorting things out – other people would just get in the way.
  2. Come up with several ways to solve the problem but have difficulty deciding which is best or how to start.
  3. Hope somebody else will turn up, or call somebody to talk the problem through with them before deciding a course of action.

How do you deal with stress?

  1. Overcome it by working harder and facing up to the issue.
  2. Reduce it by talking to others about it or doing something fun to get it out of your system.
  3. Internalise it and come to terms with it by exploring its ramifications in your mind.

What It Takes To Be A Volunteer

If you answered mainly 1, you have the right skills to work in an analytic, technical or practical volunteer role. You probably won’t struggle too much with the workload but you may find people think you’re a bit ‘off-hand’ at times and that you offend without meaning too. Suitable roles for you could be in problem-solving areas or construction, such as building work, driving and logistics, working to improve the environment and organising visits and deliveries. To improve your skills base, you might look for work with animals, people in rehab or recovering from injury or those who are struggling to cope with illness or adversity, so that you can use your practical skills whilst building more people-friendly ones and learning how to expression your compassionate side through practical action.

If most of your answers were 2s, you’re highly creative and imaginative. You’d thrive in an arts based environment, helping others to explore their own artistic and performance skills although you might sometimes overwhelm the shyer and less confident individuals in a group just because you love expressing yourself so much. An ideal volunteer opportunity for you would combine some kind of artistic or dramatic activity with working in a group so you can explore how to tone down your flamboyant side when necessary by fitting in better to a larger structure than your own ego.

If the bulk of your answers were 3s, you are highly sensitive and empathetic and people would say you are a great listener and a good friend. You probably feel overwhelmed quite often and that others are better at things than you, but in fact your quiet approach usually produces results without fuss. Ideal roles for you to consider would be working on a telephone helpline or with the elderly or small children, where your natural sympathy and tact would be fully utilised. However it’s important that you are part of a supportive team that nurtures your skills and helps you find better ways to deal with things that make you anxious so that you can become more confident about coping and less likely to internalise difficult situations to the detriment of your mood and mental health.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hello,I am a retired Irish lady living in Estepona,Spain with over 10 years experience looking after children. I would love to volunteer tohelp Spanish children with their English lessons. Kind rgs Anne
mary poppins - 28-May-14 @ 11:32 AM
This is the best edvise I ever took. Thanks a lot!
Lil Lily - 12-May-12 @ 8:28 PM
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