Tips for volunteers

Volunteering is a great way to use your skills and experience to help others. As a beneficiary you understand first hand the issues faced by people affected by thalidomide, making it easier to provide empathetic support.

As well as benefiting others, you will also benefit by improving your skills and confidence, meeting new people and taking on new challenges.

Thinking of becoming a volunteer?

A number of our beneficiary volunteers have generously provided the benefit of their volunteering experiences in the form of some top tips to consider if you are thinking of becoming a volunteer.

Top tips

  • Make sure you’ve got enough time to give – you can’t just confine a call, or a visit to a certain amount of time. You need to give the person you’re with the time they need to talk, or simply enjoy your company.
  • Don’t volunteer if you don’t find it fulfilling. Stop if it’s not right for you; not just for your own sake, but for the sake of the person you’re spending time with. It’s good to be honest.
  • Be sensitive and non-judgemental – people don’t care what you think, they just want to talk.
  • Always make sure you listen – not just to what someone is saying, but also to pauses and silences – they say a lot about how someone is feeling.
  • Remember what people tell you – if you’re not good at that, take notes so you can build a strong relationship.
  • Be aware of when you need to change the subject – if someone is struggling or wants to move on in a conversation.
  • Go in with a positive attitude – it can be infectious.
  • Be genuine.
  • Don’t bring baggage.
  • Be empathetic.
  • Most importantly you must have respect for other people. They will approach things in very different ways, have different lives, views and ways of achieving outcomes – you need to understand where they are coming from.

“Sharing my skills with the Trust has been rewarding all the way,…..for me it was definitely a win, win, win experience!”

Read Ed’s experience of being a volunteer for the Trust

Ed's volunteering story
Ed's volunteering story

 

More information about volunteering with us