Volunteering is often an opportunity for people to give back. It’s perfectly natural to want to do your best to make a difference! But, what happens when your foot is in the back door, and you find yourself working for an organisation that truly resonates with your calling? How can you turn this voluntary experience into a full-time job?
Now that you know where you want to work, here are a few ways that you can turn it into a permanent role.
Show that you’re committed
Organisations recognize consistency. They want people who are passionate about their cause and willing to go beyond what is necessarily asked of them. Failing to show up, poor communication and tardiness will not impress them!
Even as a volunteer, you should be courteous and give your team leader notice if you are unable to stick to the original schedule. If you really want to be in that office every day, treat it like it is your full-time job! Be 15 minutes early, dress to impress, deliver quality work and get to know the people who make things happen.
Focus on building relationships
Volunteering is more than an opportunity to develop your skills. This is also your chance to meet new people, interact with current employees and begin developing sound relationships. Go beyond the people that you’re volunteering with and get to know the teams that you would like to be a part of! If you’re interested in Campaigning or Marketing, for example, ask the department director if you can pick their brain. Don’t assume that people won’t make time to speak to you because you’re volunteering – if anything, you will receive a very warm welcome.
Relationships are the foundation of charities and not-for-profit organisations. If you can get to know the right people and demonstrate your worth, you will be thought of when a vacancy arises.
Make the most of any face-to-face interaction! But most importantly, give them a reason to remember you.
Understand the organization, it’s cause & culture
It goes without saying that charities and not-for-profits want people who understand their mission. There will always be numerous organisations that dedicate their time to the same cause, so you have to demonstrate why you want to be a member of this particular team.
Do some research in your free time and get to grips with exactly what they are trying to achieve, talk to senior colleagues that understand the direction that the organisation is heading in and stay in tune with the latest industry news. Knowledge is power – so keep topping yours up.
Demonstrate what you can deliver
Volunteering already demonstrates a level of commitment and personal interest. However, you also have a number of transferable skills that can be put to great use! This can show your ability to adapt to challenging situations and willingness to help the organization flourish.
If you have strong writing skills, for example, offer to write a blog post about your experience as a volunteer. Good with numbers? Let them know that you’re happy to help with any tricky administrative duties too.
Make a point of asking for more work to do! Use your skills to show how diverse you really are.
If you’ve genuinely given it your all, don’t feel downhearted if a vacancy doesn’t arise straight away. Your time has been well spent – you’ve left them with the best impression of who you are and what you can bring to the table, as well as gained some valuable experience.
Do your best to stay in touch with a key member of the team so that, when the right position becomes available, you’re the first person they call.
If you’re looking for some inspiration…
Take a look at Keisha’s story! She found a volunteering opportunity whilst searching CharityJob and, within a year, this turned into a full-time job. This could happen to you too!