There are many reasons why you’d want to consider volunteering. Are you unsure of your career path and want to gain hands-on experience before you make the big decision? Perhaps you just want to give back to a community you’re passionate about and help make a difference. Either way, volunteering is a great way to develop a new skill set or have a feeling of purpose and belonging. Community service is a great way to strengthen your ties with the community while helping you find people with common interests. It also helps in developing social and communication skills. Your work as a volunteer will also give you a sense of pride and satisfaction. Volunteering helps in developing a strong support system and with the physical work involved, it helps you stay healthy; physically and mentally. Also, an London School of Economics research study examined the relationship between happiness and volunteering and found out that: the more people volunteered the happier they were. Keeping all this in mind, a cover letter is the best way to be ahead of the selection game when it comes to applying for volunteership.
A well-written cover letter for volunteering will explain your purpose and motive while also making you stand out. This is an opportunity to tell your story on a single page. Yes, a single page!
1. Introduce yourself in a few lines
When you’re beginning to write your cover letter, pick the right cover letter format, mention relevant information about yourself including your background while shedding light on who “you” are. Begin by writing your name, address, and relevant contact information. Proceed with brief information about who you are and why you are interested in the position. A captivating first paragraph with the right cover letter structure increases your chances of being noticed.
2. Mention your relevant experience, skills & qualifications
- Experience- Focus on listing any particular experience that is relevant to the role. Provide a brief description of how your previous work experience has prepared you for the position.
- Skills – Understanding what skills you possess and how they relate to the position can give you an advantage when writing a cover letter. Spend some time with yourself and give some thoughts on the responsibilities of the role. You can talk about how great you are at tech stuff, or hyperlink your online portfolio!
- Qualification- Many organisations have educational requirements for the volunteer position, so it is important you provide the highest level of education you have received. For instance, a good way to do this would be to set up two-column sections so that names can go side by side and cover letter layout is maintained. It’s all about saving space to indulge in the motive!
3. Align yourself to the organization’s core values
Recognise your personal values. What do you value most in your life? Think hard and be honest. An organisation has a well-defined intent and goal they want to achieve. Take some time and familiarise yourself with the organisation’s mission and core values. What we’re getting at is to find an environment that excites you. Somewhere you feel comfortable and that somewhat aligns with your own mission and values.
4. Tell them where you heard about this opportunity
This might seem like a topic you could pass. However, it is more evident than ever that organizations (like most of us) appreciate feeling valued. In other words, they want to know how much research you have done about them. Make it clear why ‘this’ particular organisation interests you and how they stand out from the others. Refer to any positive information you found about the organisation or mention people’s personal anecdotes of their volunteering experience!
5. Explain why you’re interested in the position
Volunteering is completely “voluntary” which makes it important for you to express why it is that you’re interested in the first place. Talk about what you’re looking to gain from the volunteering experience. Are you looking to learn a specific skill? Or is this an opportunity to learn and grow personally? Your cover letter for volunteer work should involve a concise paragraph on what motivates you to take up the role. This will give the organisation an opportunity to understand your motive. Most importantly, be sure to sound enthusiastic!
Now that you have mastered the art of writing a cover letter, go ahead and begin your search!
Where to find volunteer opportunities:
- VolunteerMatch – Find opportunities that match your volunteer interests, from location to type of work. (VolunteerMatch)
- Volunteer – Directory of environmental volunteer opportunities. (Volunteer.gov)
- British Red Cross – Help people in crisis, whoever and wherever you are. (Red Cross)
- Age UK -Be part of a community and provide vital support to the elderly in the UK. (ageuk.org)
- Connect 123 – Lookup opportunities that match your volunteer interests in Sydney. (Connect-123.com)