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How to be a better volunteer

In celebration of International Volunteer Day, which takes place on 5 December, forgood, South Africa’s biggest volunteering platform is calling on people to offer up their time in a way that has real impact. Whether it’s mentoring, tutoring or even managing an organisation’s Facebook page, make sure you use your skills and talents in a way that is constructive, helpful and positive.

“Volunteering isn’t just about giving up your time, it’s about adding real value to the cause you are helping,” says Andy Hadfield, CEO of “That’s why at forgood, we try to match people’s skills and passions to relevant causes – helping to create more meaningful relationships and actions that have bigger impact.”

This Volunteer Day, be the best volunteer you can be with forgood’s useful tips:

  1. Choose the right cause for you

Take the time to seek out an organisation whose mission speaks to you. Connect in a meaningful way by working with a cause that needs the skills that you have to offer.

  1. Be flexible

Day-to-day activities in causes vary so you have to be able to roll with it – don’t have your heart set on doing one particular job. Volunteering is what you make of it – always be willing to learn.

  1. Involve your friends and family

Volunteering makes for great family time. The experience can bring everyone closer, teach young children the value of giving, introduce skills and experiences never before encountered and create special memories.

  1. Be yourself and have fun

Helping others shouldn’t feel like a job. Even the most mundane task can be fun if you manage it with a sense of humour and enthusiasm.

  1. Make no excuses and stick to your promises

Once you have committed to helping a cause, make sure you follow through. Consistency is the most powerful trait a volunteer can have. Keep your promises and communicate clearly to avoid disappointing yourself or the cause.

  1. Don’t make it about you

Amazing volunteers think less about what they can get from the experience of volunteering and more about what they can contribute. Be selfless. Don’t worry – you’ll get plenty from it – volunteering is one of the most rewarding activities you’ll ever undertake.

  1. Be respectful

Be open-minded and understanding. Your way of thinking or living is not the only way there is. You never know, you may learn something new.

  1. Use your integrity and trust the experts

Offer your suggestions to the team in a polite manner and don’t forget that the cause you’re volunteering for has considerably more experience than you.

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