Ask most people to define employee volunteering and you hear verbs such as building, digging, planting and painting. It’s just the way it has always been done.
I’m not saying charities don’t appreciate some sweat and muscle but here at TimeBank we like to look outside the (just assembled and painted) box and try to offer a more rewarding kind of Employee Volunteering: an experience that inspires and motivates and leaves both volunteers and beneficiaries with lasting memories and new skills.
At TimeBank we are granted five days per year volunteering leave which is way above the national average of two but because we are passionate about volunteering we like to be able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. In previous jobs, volunteering for me has been defined by how dirty my clothes were, how many cuts adorned my hands and how much my back ached. However this was all about to change……
Recently I attended a digital workshop for AgeUK in Hackney. No training was required and the only brain cells I needed were the ones I needed every time I use my computer or check my phone (which is a lot!) It was only two hours of my time but I could tell that for the ‘silver surfers’ it was an opportunity to interact and learn and spend some quality time with a fresh face. I helped someone to sort out the contact list on their phone, reducing the list from over 100 down to a manageable 30. I also spent 30 minutes checking for security updates on a laptop. It wasn’t a lot to me but it was very important to them. The best part was chatting over a cuppa about the joys of London, the best pubs to go to and being shown a Facebook page with a picture of one of my companions as a three-year old, dressed as a sailor for the Queen’s Coronation! It was one of the most satisfying afternoons I have spent in a long time and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling inside my digital soul.