Why volunteer for a Non Profit and How I evolved doing so

Why volunteer for non profit?

This is why you Volunteer!

Volunteering for a nonprofit always seems to be a tricky question. I get to answer that a couple of times every week. “I would rather prefer relaxing on a weekend. Why volunteer for a NPO/NGO or any institute for that matter”. Who has the time to work for something which doesn’t generate more bucks?

This is a thought that generally runs into most of the mere mortals. For me, things have fortunately changed for good and I think it would be great to try and convince you – Why should one volunteer for Non-Profits? Or rather volunteer at all.

Apart from my job, in the spare time I volunteer for 2 institutes. An NGO called Maru Bharti Seva Sangh which tries to help the needy in the area of education and employment (typical one you can think) and a Non Profit called Head Start, an organization that promotes Entrepreneurship and fosters startups in India.

I have been volunteering for Head Start for more than 2 years now and I feel I have been immensely benefitted from the experience. The value and satisfaction is way more than the green bucks I might have minted.

Evolved as a volunteer

Volunteers work for passion. Period. If you are not passionate enough for the vision of an organization you can’t be of any help. But incase if you are passionate about meeting likeminded people, exploring what the world outside (real world) is really up to and learn more than ever by giving while you receive; than volunteering will be a fun ride.

You understand how NPOs work – Non profits are completely different than the corporate cubicles. Even though you are kicked a hundred times you still will turn back tomorrow for your day job, but in case of an NPO you really never know how long a team member will stay intact. Still the show goes on.

How people are glued together – You understand what drives people. What people think? You add to their lives and they add to yours without both realizing about the whole process.

Handy Tip! Understand why you want to volunteer – Everyone has an intention when they join such a group. Good or bad. No one comes with a resume or goes through an interview. A few minutes of chat, setting expectations and you are in the team. It is always good to understand why you are doing it. This helps solve issues before hand, and lets you analyze whether you are getting whatever you were supposed to.

Evolved as a Host

There are many roles that you will have to play for the NPO you join. I do couple of things I can. One of this is hosting regular shows called Startup Saturdays(SS). This happens second Saturday of every month across 9 cities in India.

When I say hosting, it doesn’t just mean compering the shows (though I do that as well). It means being the face of the organization whatever work you do. Whichever activity you are involved with in your NPO, you will frequently meet new people during the get togethers/shows/ campaigns etc. This is one opportunity you can’t get even by paying for it.

Two minds are better than one. How about a hundred? These guests are new faces, with different intentions. They need help and you are The NPO. You can’t imagine the amount of learning you can get while just interacting with this crowd. If you require me to quantify this, I would say volunteering for HeadStart and attending SS for a year is equal to a quarter of your MBA. (No need to mention it just takes a few weekends of your time and saves thousands of dollars)

Live the real Life. Sitting inside these cubicles or within the four walls of comfort called Home; we start building our own understanding of this world. A picture with few colors that we understand. But the world out there is more colorful than you can actually imagine. To see what it is, you have to come out of these walls, no other option.

Evolve as a human being

You know we are social animals (pun). But social here just doesn’t mean, logging in to the online app and giving your piece of mind in less than 140 characters. Social has more to explore. Nothing can provide you more Networking opportunities than volunteering for a NPO.

Right Intention? Right from getting leads for your venture to having a shiny line in your resume, an NPO can really help you with that too. But this is something I would ask you to be very clear with. Benefits follow hard work and not vice versa in an NPO. You are a volunteer and not an employee. You get more by giving and not by trying to take away. Finally it’s a non-profit not for profit.

A better speaker, a better team player, a more patient person; this is what I am post volunteering for Head Start. I have intentionally not covered you with an exhaustive 101 list of awesome things you get and why volunteer. I guess that’s not what the intention should be. It is more about the passion and value addition. If you don’t get that, I suggest attend the NPO gatherings before joining in and check whether you connect with that spirit.

I hope you now understand why volunteering is so important. I hope you add more to the life of someone who needs you. All the best with that!

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Monika June 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I always admire people who work for non profit organization. Fortunately my sister is one of them. Though she doesn’t work for any NGO but her profession in itself is a great contribution towards society. She is a teacher by profession. well, I read your blog & I really liked it.

ARUN R BISSA December 26, 2012 at 11:04 am


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