Volunteering is no place exceptional of myths. These turn out to become excuses and hinder many from ever participating from this wonderful opportunity of impacting lives. Join me as we take a closer look at 5 key myths that we often tell ourselves about volunteering.

  1. It is hard for me to get time to volunteer

Well, you could say so, but we all have 24 hours in a day and 365 days a year. How we apportion them makes all the difference. One wise choice is to attach value to something, prioritize it and plan time for it. That way it gets space on your schedule. Otherwise normal things like eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth in the morning or going to the bathroom in the middle of a busy day would stand no chance for our attention, but hey, who can do without them? As you chase your gigantic goals, you have to plan room for the small ones too. Whatever it is, plan for it and you’re more certain to have it done.

2. I don’t have the right skills

Some opportunities need a certain skill set but some will simply call for interest to learn new skills, polish up the miniature skills you already have or simply your availability. You don’t always need to first fully develop and furnish your skillset before taking up a volunteering opportunity, you can start from where you are and build on. I suggest you start with an opportunity where you already have some skills and interest to get you started. That way it’ll give you a perfect blend of fun, challenging and educative.

3. I have to be young to volunteer

This absolutely far from the truth. According to 2016 statistics by International Labor Organization (ILO), in Kenya 28.4% of the volunteers were aged between 15 and 24, 64.7% between 25 and 64, and 6.9% were aged above 65 years of age. Of these, 44.4% were women and 55.6% men. Clearly, you belong somewhere between those groups and trust me you won’t be alone. There already many others who have already considered themselves not young, or even too old, to make an impact through volunteering.

4. Problems are so big, I can’t make much of a difference

I disagree with this. Sometimes our potential is thus greatly misjudged and denied the opportunity. Your contribution can at least impact one person, to say the least. Who knows what can become of that single person you’ve impacted? You don’t need to change the whole world in one go, just impact your one person and as the chain goes on, together we shall make the difference and solve the problem, whatever it may be. This is how a single match stick ca burn up an entire forest. Even so, we shall deal with the “big problems”. Remember the adage “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Just ensure to take your bite and before you know it we’ll soon be rejoicing in victory over the elephant problems.

5. Volunteering is thankless work

I think it greatly depends on how one defines thankfulness. Let’s take an example of if you gave someone a gift like a car. If the next day you found them driving to work in that car, you’ll feel the satisfaction of their gratitude and you’ll be glad you helped. That satisfaction is their Thank you note. In volunteering, many times the people you lend out a hand to may never be able to pay you back right then in the rightful amounts, but seeing their lives get better, their potential getting unleashed and their dreams coming to pass is such a great payback that you won’t wish for a paycheck or lights and camera, in return for your contribution. Volunteering is a much-appreciated work, only in different gestures that you may not have experienced before. Trust me!

Well, so it turns out that these myths don’t hold much water as you thought. They are simply mirages to get you thinking otherwise and deter you from a life-changing opportunity of impacting a life out there. Get past them and embark on a volunteering opportunity. Trust me you won’t regret it.

This article was written by Patrick Mugera, a volunteer Content Writer at VoluCulture.

At VoluCulture, we provide an online platform that connects grassroots nonprofit organizations in Kenya with local and global virtual volunteers.