Tips for social action projects, part 4: Volunteering

Setting up a volunteering project can be one of the most rewarding ways to make a real difference.


If you have want to give the gift of your time to help others, this set of tips – the fourth in our series – can help you make a big impact.

What do you want to change?

Whether it’s cleaning up the local area or spending time working with elderly people, make sure you’re clear about what you’re hoping to achieve and who it will benefit. Everyone in your team should be able to say why your volunteering project is needed.

Everyone has a gift to give

Remember, everyone has something to offer. Begin by looking at the different skills, interests and areas of expertise you have in your team and how these can benefit your chosen cause.

Who’s doing it already?

Check if there are any existing organisations in your community that support your chosen issue or cause. Ask them what they need and how you can help make a difference. Sometimes they will offer training or materials to help you get your projects started.

Time is of the essence!

Decide how much time you can commit outside school. The more ambitious your project, the more time you’ll need to give up. Like most things in life: the more you put in, the more rewarding it becomes (for you and everyone else).

Try virtual volunteering

Struggling to meet your classmates outside of school? Perhaps you live in the middle of nowhere! Why not try virtual volunteering? All you need is an internet connection and a talent for something that you can share. Set up an advice blog or hold webinars spreading your skills.

Maximise opportunities

See if people want to make donations to help support your volunteering initiative. Although you’re running a volunteer project, it doesn’t mean you can’t accept donations or get people to back your idea.

Spread the vibes

Recruit more volunteers – speak to family, friends and the rest of the school. If everyone in your class gave just two hours that’s over 50 hours of activity! What if all these people convinced another two people to join in? Suddenly you’ve tripled your workforce. What are you waiting for? Share your story through a local newspaper or radio station and ask businesses to get their staff involved. Don’t forget to thank them all!

Challenge yourselves to come up with a really unique idea. But if you can’t, don’t despair: check out our ideas generator instead.

Part one: Effective social action in schools
Part two: Awareness campaigns
Part three: Fundraising campaigns 
Part five: Social enterprise

Views expressed on this blog are not necessarily those of the Citizenship Foundation.

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