In the blog series ”Volunteering is diamond”, we publish articles on volunteering by students who study volunteer leadership at the HUMAK Open University of Applied Sciences.  

I´ve never thought volunteering to be a big part or even a part of my life. I’ve always thought that volunteer activities have to be done through some organization or association and you have to commit for years – so, not my thing. However, I have been volunteering for years without realizing it. I just haven’t thought of it as such.

Soon, I´ve been participating in my child´s parents’ association for nine years. We have sold socks to fund a class trip and I´ve been a supervisor at camp school and in school discos. Moreover, at the moment I take part in the school´s board of the parents´ association, organizing events and promoting the communality between the school and families in the area. I feel that this is important to me because it is closely associated with my family’s everyday life. This has not seemed like a big commitment, because the events are relatively rare and one can influence the times and ways of doing things to a great extent. Volunteering can also always be stopped without explaining it to yourself or others, if you don´t have time for it. Besides gaining good mood, maybe this is the feeling that has kept me along for all these years.      

To make volunteering even more attractive to me, I think it should be made as easy as possible. Without long lasting training or courses, there is an opportunity to do something right now for someone who needs help today. If there was no need commit for a long time, it would certainly be easy to get other helpers to join in as well. These days, people have so many things to divide their time between. Various volunteer activities, especially short-term ones, should be easily found, for example, on the internet. Even though volunteering opportunities can be found online, I think it could be found even more clearly in one place.  

A good example of rapid, but very significant volunteering or humanitarian aid is the Christmas calendar fundraising on Facebook for children of low-income families. The concept is extremely simple. On Facebook, you can register either as a donor or a recipient of a gift. After this, the moderators connect a donor with a child. The donor receives a message with information about the child and the address, where the Christmas calendar can be sent. Other contact between donors and gift recipients is forbidden and a donation can´t be done under your own name or to your own town. It’s an easy and fast way to do good. It works!

Text: Kirsikka Linna

The author currently studies volunteer leadership at the HUMAK Open University of Applied Sciences.

Translation: Kati Merikoski