What organisation you support:

The Centre for Volunteering as a Social Media Officer.

How long have you been volunteering?

I have been volunteering with The Centre since January 2013, but have been a volunteer for quite a while.

Was your experience part of an educational requirement? If so how else did your experience tie in with your studies?

My role at The Centre for Volunteering was not a requirement for my university studies; however, in one of my classes I had to create a blog and I decided to use volunteering as my topic. As I was allowed to have guest bloggers, I contacted Jacinthe at The Centre, to get her input, and ended up becoming a volunteer.

What did you do for the organisation?

My main focus is media related. I research suitable content for their website and social media sites. This includes find volunteer opportunities that are suitable for youth then packaging it the Facebook page, creating a description, finding and adding a photo and making sure that the right links are included.

As part of my role I also attend events to help promote The Centre, work on marketing materials and help out whenever I am needed.

What did you most enjoy?

I liked learning new things, how the organisation runs, talking to people within the industry, collaborating, learning through research and going to new events. I also enjoyed being able to watch the progression of content, things such as seeing Facebook ‘likes’ increasing, as well as having a purpose.

Were there any challenges? How did you overcome these?

Mainly resources availability, I’d try to find alternative methods for what I am trying to achieve, for example finding pictures to go with the content I as posting on our social media pages. I couldn’t always find images in our database, so I would have to look for free sources online. Thinking creatively, is also another way I approach challenges, or writing down and brainstorming ideas with peers.

What is the main thing you got out of this volunteering experience?

Everything I learnt that come from my experiences while I was there, including the practical skills that my role and the organisation allowed me to have.

Do you have any other volunteer experience?

I have had a few other volunteering experiences, which were mainly informal, like socialising with residence, playing card games and offering companionship while visiting my aunt’s retirement home.

I first started volunteering when I was in high school as part of a school program. At first, I volunteered at in aged care. My role was mainly visiting retirees, offering companionship, talking playing cards. I was even able to bring my dog or some friends along with me.

I was also able to volunteer at my local police station as part of my school student engagement project, where was able to join police on patrols, learn about responsibilities and rights, what happens in emergencies, procedures to follow and administration duties.

What advice would you give to others wanting to do this?

Think about what you want, what you can do, your responsibilities, challenges and learning. Think about new experiences and make sure you’re doing what you’re interested in and not what you think you should be doing.

Where can people get more information?

Depends on what you want, The Centre for Volunteering is a place to start or organisations that you would like to volunteer for. You could also talk to other people who have volunteered before or professionals in the industry to find out what would be involve. You could also try Google.