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What is Volunteering?
Volunteering is a social service activity to provide your time freely to help people, community and the society. Volunteers do not expect payment or economical gain but
they can contribute time and resources. 

Why is volunteering important for an individual?
By volunteering, a person develops life skills and become well-rounded individuals. A person may get life enriching experience and get a new perspective to life. Young students can develop life skills as they get immersed in activities that are outside of their comfort zones. Volunteering helps a person make an important contribution to the society at large. It can help a young student become competent, employable, and better meet their learning objectives.

Volunteer For Us: What We Do
Volunteer For Us: Welcome

Etiquette of Volunteering (Please read this completely before you apply as a volunteer/intern).

Every month we receive several applications to volunteer for a social cause saying - we would like to volunteer for your NGO do you have any availability. We are interested in doing something for a social cause, we want to do something for Women Empowerment, we want to teach children from the economically weaker section background, we want to give back, we want to care, and/or we want to have the satisfaction of having done something good for the society. It is always a great feeling to get such applications and we are absolutely in awe with the follow-up emails as well.
But, many times we do not respond instantly because, it is easy to say that you care and want to do something, but actually working is a totally different thing.

So here is a complete road-map on how to volunteer effectively.

This post is for those who wish to volunteer with an NGO which has paid staff or dedicated set-up. Volunteering in key management positions of an NGO or in an all-volunteer setup completely different.

Amita Panda at Our Social Works.jpg
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Girls Carrying a Recycling Bin


It is wonderful that you want to volunteer.  But do you want to volunteer for only one day, a couple of hours once in a week for a duration of a few months or volunteer on all working days working 6 hours a day for a month or two?  If you want to volunteer for one day then look out for tree plantation, toy collection drives, one-day awareness campaigns etc. But take note that in such one-day events, crowd management, managing resources and communicating effectively is sometimes difficult. So, Instead of complaining about how things could have been better managed, make the best use of the space available to make yourself useful.

Regular Schedule in Volunteering

If you want to volunteer more regularly, first ask yourself, if you have the time and will to commit consistent volunteer support for 3-6 months at least. Then assess if you have the skills that match your NGO’s needs.  Sometimes, It creates a mess when volunteer turnaround is high. Because every time a new volunteer comes in, she has to be trained, guided in the area of work, and it is exhausting for the NGO staff/team.

 We remember trying to connect some of the women applicants from designing/crafts who wanted to train other women and help them generate their livelihood at OSW Women Empowerment Program. The first thing we enquired was about the session timings and duration, but surprisingly she was hesitant. 
Over a period we have realised that the women at OSW Women Empowerment
Program come to learn with passion and when the volunteer-teachers don’t show up their energy drops and are left demotivated.

Just Volunteer—Don’t Expect Returns

When you begin volunteering with an NGO, please do not expect them to be grateful to you and shower you with flowery praises. It is wonderful you are giving your time but so are they. They have often committed their careers and personal life to the cause. This is especially true for small NGOs with limited staff support. One staff person often has to wear multiple hats and is stressed for time and energy. It's good that a volunteer may be eager to learn, but over-eagerness and inquisitiveness cause more chaos than sorting out operations. It takes time and resources to train a volunteer, adequate training is usually provided once the coordinator is assured that the intern is useful for the organization and there to stay.

Cultural Sensitivity

As a volunteer, if you enter specific communities like tribal areas or the disabled population or a slum area, please first study the issues thoroughly and understand the cultural etiquette of the group. NGOs ideally should organize diversity orientation workshops to sensitize volunteers to the regional community culture—the need to respect different ways of being and living. For example, the children living in slums do not want to be pitied. Similarly, underprivileged girls and women, need kind words and courage, and guidance, but not pity. They are facing hardships but they value their self-respect.

Volunteering brings joy to your life. It helps you find like-minded friends and a community.

It makes evenings and weekends more purposeful and happy. Find an NGO today and offer your time and skills. Change happens, one step at a time.

How to Win Trust

We have learned through many failures that the first step to enacting change is to win the trust of the community that you are working for. You cannot show off your knowledge, your “liberated” status, your clothes, or your lifestyle. Instead, you become humble and adapt to their clothes and lifestyle without giving up your core values. Keep yourself open to listening, empathizing, caring, and doing hands-on work. When you are allowed to become a friend of the community, then you can suggest changes. But again, your suggestions may be accepted or not.  You need to persevere. 

When you enter into volunteering, please do not expect immediate change to happen during your term or sometimes even in your lifetime. Change is slow, painful and complex. Sometimes change happens years after you leave. But know this that every push, every sweat has made its way to make that change possible.

Volunteering also requires giving up your ego and willingness to do the most menial of tasks. It helps if you use volunteering as a detox process and spiritual growth.

Most NGOs that are doing real work need funds. That’s where they need volunteers.  We have noticed that many people hesitate from asking for donations. We have overcome this hesitancy over the years. Sometimes our volunteers offer services in exchange for donations.

Presentations at fundraisers forums or business networking forums are good platforms for fundraising. At Our Social Works, we have been presenting before many business community get-togethers to bring awareness and fundraise. A volunteer needs to realize that she is not asking for money or support for herself but for a good cause which she believes in and if the donors themselves want to support then they may also contribute. So a volunteer does not need to be ashamed.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to mature as a person. As much as you give, you also receive within. You become calmer, less depressed, and more joyful. You also become more skilled in interpersonal and networking skills, in teamwork and in managing rapidly changing situations. You become a better person every time You volunteer.

If you are not already volunteering, please give it a try. It definitely is worth your time!

We are looking for volunteers who are interested in working on the following projects:


  • For SMILE Bags (Nutrition and Snack Program for Children and Women) - Nutrition Program for Children/Women (You can donate 1 or more Smile Bags. Each smile bag contains 20 essential items for a person living on the road. Minimum Donation accepted is 1 Smile Bag ( Rs.1050/- One Thousand Fifty Only ). All Donators with contributions of more than 25 Bags would be issued a certificate of appreciation and are also welcome to become volunteers for Distribution. We distribute in batch sizes of 150 as soon as ready.

  • Sponsor Scholarship for a child -Scholarship program for deserving children (We are looking for scholarships of Rs.6500/- to Rs.12500/- per student per year); for their basic educational expenses like Guide Books and Text Books; Free Coaching; School Uniforms; Infrastructure like space rentals; electricity; overheads etc. You may also support in contributing part of the scholarship program. The amount will depend upon the grade of the student.

  • Sponsor a skill development program for Women Empowerment -Sponsor a 3-month skill development workshop for 20 women. These workshops develop skills for Women that will help them in livelihood generation.

  • Fund Raising for OSW Women Empowerment Project -for buying stitching and sewing material, craft supplies Skill Development Trainer Fees, Cloth material for stitching, etc., Threads for hand embroidery

2) Volunteers for sales and marketing - OSW Women Empowerment Program (OWEP)

  • Get bulk orders for Women Empowerment Program like (Stoles, Trays, Candles, Book Marks, Embroidery etc) or custom orders for other products they can make.

  • To manage and help in Exhibition cum Sales of products made at OWEP(Sales and Inventory counter), a requirement from project to project basis. Mostly during festive seasons (between July to February). 

  • Volunteers expert/professionals in Fashion Designing, Crafts, Cutting Master, Handmade Jewellery, Hand Embroidery, or Similar Skills. (Minimum commitment twice in a week - 2 pm to 4 pm).

  • Stationery (either fundraising or buying and donating books directly - Text Books).

  • Clothes (New clothes only)

Volunteer For Us: Who We Are
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