One of the key challenges faced today, by organisations – Non-Governmental (NGOs), Private Voluntary (PVOs), Non Profit sector & Community initiatives, all who depend on Voluntary manpower, is the lack of experienced Voluntary leaders. Volunteers come from different backgrounds and on occasions hesitate or are not capable or equipped or trained to take on Leadership roles. If Professionalism is to be brought about in Voluntary Service, then, I believe, sound leadership and management in the delivery of voluntary services is important and the continuous creation of Leadership skills in volunteers, needs to be present & understood. It is important to nurture leadership qualities among the volunteers such that they are equipped with skills, knowledge and attitudes that are required to plan, implement and evaluate programs that meet the real needs of the beneficiaries.
A Volunteer needs to understand the principles of Management and apply the same in his service. The service rendered should be such that they give their best and are open to critic and appraisal similar to a paid position. Delivery of quality service rendered in time and understanding the responsibility attached to the authority given to Volunteers will bring out the professionalism of the service.
You A Chartered Accountant are trained to be Leaders. As a Professionals you are aware of how to enhance organisation capacity through better work practices, you have the required management skills, time management skills, knowledge and ability to make things happen, you can handle stress situations & challenges with ease, you can make a change. What is it that then stops you? In the rat race of meeting deadlines are we not losing a wonderful opportunity to volunteer? Wakeup grab any opportunity to Volunteer that comes your way. Brian Tracy has said “Develop the winning edge; small difference in your performance can lead to large differences in your results.” You as a Volunteer are capable of achieving the winning edge and profes-sionally delivering Voluntary service.
Voluntary Manpower & initiatives is the most important asset for organizations that depend on Volunteers. Here, volunteers form the foundation & pillars of the unit and so as to survive these organisations need to strive to create awareness about volunteerism, inspire voluntary culture, provide volunteers with a range of volunteering opportunities, harness the talent of volunteers and help and ensure that the delivery of the Voluntary service is professional.
There is tremendous opportunity for a Chartered Accountant to become a Volunteer and help organisations better deliver & enhance capacities of the good work that is being done. There are few that criticise volunteerism and say that it is one for the rich and it is only them that indulge in it. This in my view is not true and anyone who wants can volunteer. It is however important that those involved in volunteerism need to understand the concept of Service.
Service could be of any kind - serving the poor and needy; giving charity, providing food or shelter, helping a person in distress, saving someone from danger or reading the scriptures for his solace or providing services for the common good. Service can be rendered in any form through labour, feelings or material means. Service through material means should be a silent and non-personal contribution. It is meant for the welfare of the community and the whole humanity and should be done in a way as to help dissolve one’s ego.
It can however be agreed that not everyone may be willing to offer voluntary service and reasons for the same could include
• No ability
• No resources
• No Time
• No suitable circumstances
• No inclination... No understanding of its values
• No inspiration
Volunteerism requires no special talent, nor large amount of money or skills. It is compounding of the heart and the head acting together to achieve the perfect means of expressing feelings. It is love sharpened with imagination. Service is one of the ways that one can be of use to humanity at large. It need not be restricted to oneself, one’s family, friends or community. It can be rendered to anyone at all in need of assistance.
Volunteer service includes service for the government. To help during surveys and census, natural calamities, law and order situations, some people may volunteer at their local nonprofit organisations and get training on whatever services the organisation needs. Volunteers come from all walks of life and devote their time, effort, energy, thought and knowledge in contributing toward the quality of the life of others.
Just as there are volunteers from diverse backgrounds, there are also diverse ways of volunteering. Volunteers may be engaged in long term interventions that continue over many years, or opt to give their services for a short time of a few weeks or months, even days.
Some volunteers opt to work directly with communities and make changes in other peoples' lives through informal volunteering or through formal institutions. Others opt to build capacities of organizations working with the poor and vulnerable, so that they can help them indirectly. A third option that some prefer is to join civil society movements and campaigns seeking to raise awareness, impact policies and bring about social change.
Today there exist various NGOs that provide diverse opportunities for volunteering depending on the nature and context of their work. Voluntary work is required at various levels and volunteers can be placed at the field level or the management level or they could be engaged in providing specialized services which require a particular skill.
Smaller NGOs are often dependent on volunteers for their existence. Bigger NGOs that can afford paid staff see them more as “helping hands” that complement paid staff. As a volunteer, you should have confidence in your own judgement, in your ability to analyse problems. You must have the confidence in your ability to develop solutions to those problems. You need to bring forward your ideas. Listen to ideas, create ideas and bring them forward for the service you offer.
Younger Chartered Accountants both men & women need to be encouraged to volunteer. They need to be explained the benefits of volunteerism and should be encouraged to come forward to serve. Organisations would benefit better from Youth volunteers’ knowledge, competency and imagination. Youth today are more vigorous, creative and a good youth volunteer will be an asset to any organisation. It has been rightly said that there is no exercise better for the heart than helping others. The purpose of betterment of the lives of people amongst whom you live is an important aspect that attracts youth today to volunteer.
I have not spoken about the benefits of Volunteering as I believe that you need to experience the same once and that is enough to keep bringing you back again and again to this very noble contribution that will benefit you more than the beneficiary.