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Volunteering: Personal Experience and Benefits

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Volunteering rewards internally as well as externally. Intrinsic rewards in the form of direct activity and/or the outcome of work while extrinsic activity contributes by enhancing human capital, social network or to get social approval. It provides internal and external motivations. Internally, volunteers benefit from intrinsic work enjoyment and they care about the recipient’s utility while the act of helping others gives them satisfaction. Externally, it helps in building social networks and a better understanding of working with a higher age group. As part of helping society, I have joined NGO ‘AgeAction’ for delivering digital skills to elderly people. This program is funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Government of Ireland. The government’s National Digital Strategy aims to improve digital skills among its citizens through free training sessions delivered by NGOs. For AgeAction, the age of an adult for this program is above 55 years and is open for all segments like agricultural communities, small business owners, the jobless, differently-abled persons, and underprivileged groups. 

Volunteering is beneficial in the same way that ‘market work’ is beneficial because it is an alternative but unpaid means of producing something others consumers. Educating elder people for internet-enabled skills has rewarded me by informal learning outside the classroom. Assisting people from disadvantageous sections, in terms of age, and more prone to social isolation has strengthened the importance of communication, irrespective of social or professional environments. I have always believed in continuous learning but managing that belief during the Master Program’s real-life scenario seemed to be challenging with extensive reading/writing work and that too after 10 years of leaving formal education. Agility among learners proved beneficial and encouraged me to learn new things with interest and manage to avoid burn out. Learning anything meaningful at any age is no longer a dilemma but an ongoing activity with a renewed perspective. The benefits of volunteering experiences are based on previous learning and capabilities that the individual volunteer shares with an organization. Apart from meeting people from different walks of life, my first training class at AgeAction has helped me to reconstruct my perspective about do’s and don’ts during volunteering class and taught me about managing expectations of elderly people about learning content. In recent years, successful companies have brought soft skills like interpersonal communication, team building, listening, integrity, etc. into the mainstream requirements as critical to business success. Building a social network for career preparation is one of the objectives. Sharing my knowledge during the class has complemented my experience by enhancement in confidence, ability to engage in face-to-face as well as group discussions, and improvement in language skills. As per my previous industry experience, all these informal education traits are part of the major skills sought by any employer. The realization of the effective management of people and their expectations with diverse backgrounds by me came as a surprise for me. Also, the deep thought process used during the creation of step-by-step graphical guides in an easy and short format has enhanced my problem-solving outlook by understanding the difficulties faced by intended learners.

Overall, being a part of volunteering propramme is extremely important experience for me! This serves as a unique opportunity for me to share my knowledge for the benefit of society while experiencing personal growth and professional development, e.g. Communication skills, CV-building, enhanced employment opportunities, being more tolerant to the people and experience diversity, an opportunity to practice skills 


  • Central Statistics Office, Ireland. Information Society Statistics – Household 2019
  • Department of Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Government of Ireland. Getting Citizens Online Grant Scheme
  • Duguid F., Mundel K., and Schugurensky D., 2013, Volunteer Work, Informal Learning and Social Action, Sense Publishers, p.67-68
  • Kamin M., 2013. Soft Skills Revolution: A Guide for Connecting with Compassion for Trainers, Teams, and Leaders, Center for Creative Leadership, p.8
  • Meier S. and Stutzer A., 2006, Is Volunteering Rewarding Itself?, On behalf of The London School of Economics and Political Science and The Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines. Publisher: Wiley.
  • Zack, M.H. and McKenny, 1995. Social Context and Interaction in Ongoing Computer-Supported Management Groups, Organization Science, p.397
  • Volunteer Ireland. The impact of volunteering on the health and well-being of the volunteer

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