How Volunteers Give Back to Themselves: In Conversation with Joyce Cheok

“The more you give, the more you get” 

Joyce Cheok, Service Delivery Manager at Communiteer

At Communiteer we are a community of volunteers, who have come together to encourage others to dedicate their time and skills towards making a positive impact. By harnessing the power of our unique talents and skills, we are bringing like-minded people together and expanding our social good network.

Creating A Better Society

Volunteering is something that connects us to our passions and other people who care about bringing about change. Joyce emphasises that her reason to volunteer is the sense of belonging volunteer experiences provide, “The power of one is greatly amplified by the power of many. I am always excited to join a community of members with a similar sense of passion and set of values to mine. Saying ‘yes’ to opportunities in front of me is exciting, I can meet new people and join a group I can be proud of.” 

Working towards the realisation of a common goal lies at the heart of improving the community. According to Volunteering Australia’s 2016 State of Volunteering Report, 67% of volunteer-involving organisations believe that volunteers bring new insights into their organisations. A change that Communiteer’s Marketing and Social Media Coordinator Madison Bryant has witnessed, is the vital role volunteers play in enhancing the capacity of organisations.  

The contribution of volunteers towards the work of organisations who care about making a difference is invaluable. Madison emphasises that “Volunteers are integral to the function of the organisations and causes they support. Until I gave volunteering a go, I didn’t understand the full extent to which volunteers support the not-for-profits. Without their dedication, we would all notice the negative impacts.” While the actions or volunteers are largely unseen, they are felt widely.

Volunteers support the not-for-profit sector by through their passion and commitment, according to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits 2014 Australian Charities Report. It reveals that more than 3.8 million volunteers provided over $17.3 billion of labour from 2012-13. This is a fragment of their contribution to the improvement of our community. “When working together with others towards a common cause, our dreams of a better society can become a closer reality,” affirms Joyce. 

Life Beyond Volunteer Experiences

Volunteering can lead towards embarking on a lifelong mission to find joy in our day-to-day lives. Joyce offers personal insight into the positive personal outcomes which she has yielded through her volunteer experiences, “The journey of volunteering and working collaboratively does not end at the wrap-up of a campaign. It opens new doors and leads to more fulfilment.” This sentiment is reflected in the OECD Better Life Index, which reports that volunteering increases life satisfaction by maximising their interactions with people and encouraging people to learn new things

A new thing we can learn when seeking volunteer experiences is how to immerse ourselves in a journey of giving back. Volunteering “started as learning something new, stepping out of my comfort zone into a social cause workplace. I also expected to have at least in some small way, an impact on the work that was being done” says Madison. 

The desire to make an impact leads to individuals taking ownership of causes they care about and taking actions which contribute to their resolution, according to the State of Volunteering Report. 93% of volunteers believe that positive changes occur as a result of their volunteer efforts in terms of improved wellbeing, improved sense of place in the world and feeling appreciated by others. The sense of personal satisfaction which volunteers gain through participating in the community is complemented by a high level of volunteer retention, with 99% of volunteers reporting that they would continue to engage in volunteering

Being a volunteer is a transformative experience, which can improve the wellbeing of individuals by integrating them into a group of like-minded people and encouraging them to look beyond themselves. Being guided by a common purpose, helps people find their place in the community and motivates them. This is reflected in Joyce’s personal belief that “Every volunteer experience revitalised and inspired me to do more. Helping others and standing together with other passionate individuals empowered me to contribute more time, energy and heart to each cause. Most of all, I always had more fun than expected”.

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