Being valued as a volunteer

Back in July I shared with you the perks of volunteering. I am sad to say that my time at TimeBank has now drawn to a close. But here are some last words…

What was meant to be a three month placement at TimeBank ended up lasting seven months. There are many reasons why I chose to stay on. Firstly I felt very much part of the team.  Its staff were exemplary in how they welcomed and included me - treating me as one of them. I was given my own workspace with a functioning computer and phone, and my own email account. I was invited to attend the organisation's away day, all its staff meetings and office parties and after work drinks. These may appear to be rudimentary aspects of office life that should go without saying. But I mention them because I've done work experience at other companies that failed to provide me with even a regular desk to sit at.

Secondly, a lot of thought had gone into making my experience at TimeBank valuable. Every month or so, my supervisor would invite me to sit down and together we'd assess what it was I wanted to achieve and by when. My manager took a great interest in making sure that I was always learning something and not just posing as the proverbial office girl shackled to the photocopier or coffee machine. There was absolutely none of that! In fact, I was more likely to be the recipient of a nice cup of coffee than the one making it!

I was valued as a volunteer and am very grateful for that.

Although my work consisted mainly in building up skills in the area of communications, I found that most of the skills could usefully be applied to many other lines of work. For instance, who doesn't use social media these days? I learned how to use Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to the TimeBank website. I learned how to create and edit videos for YouTube. I learned how to write press releases for local and national media. I learned how to create copy for the website. I even got to help organise a parliamentary event at the House of Commons where TimeBank explained the benefits of employee volunteering.

Speaking of which, I got a taste of employee volunteering myself on my last day at TimeBank. The team spent a wet morning in December sorting out books, games and art supplies at the Crisis warehouse in South London, for distribution to homeless centres over  Christmas. What a great way to cap a brilliant year.

TimeBank certainly knows how to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk.