10 June 2015

6 Tips on how to be a successful volunteer

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Ever since year 7, I have been a volunteer for many national charity campaigns. This includes volunteering at the Variety Children’s Christmas Party, running stores and games as well as charity fundraising days where I got up at crazy hours in the morning and carried a tray of goodies or empty money tin outside Town Hall Station to catch the peak hour rush of commuters going to work.

Over the years, I have been involved in Starlight Day, Daffodil Day, Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal and Legacy Day. We all know it is hard asking people for money, but over the years I have developed and became shameless when it came to fundraising. To me, apart from asking people for donations, fundraising also involved singing at the top of my voice to try catching the attention of busy people.

Here are 6 tips for you on how to be successful at being a volunteer:  

1. Smile

Never underestimate what a smile can do for others and yourself. You may or may not realise this, but by smiling at the people passing by, you will appear approachable and friendly, meaning there is a higher chance of being successful in asking for donations.

2. Be energetic

If you want someone to take out their wallet and buy your merchandise or donate, then you need to be active in your fundraising activities. If you’re not energetic in your job, it is highly unlikely you will be able to convince others. Start putting some energy into your fundraising activities and actively go up to people to start a conversation, you will soon see positive results.

3. Greet the person

Greetings are a great way to start conversations and shows good manners. A simple “Hello” or “Good Morning” can catch the attention of someone passing by, making the interaction personalised. We all like to speak to someone who’s polite, especially if they are asking for money!

4. Always say thank you – even if they choose not to donate or buy

This is a trick from my high school teacher that I found highly useful. Of course we all know to say “thank you” after someone has donated, but how about saying “thank you” to someone who has just said “no” or plainly ignored you? My teacher told me that by saying “thank you” to those who had just rejected you would leave them feeling guilty seeing as you have just been polite and nice to them. I have seen people walk back to me and purchase some merchandise or donate after walking past me. Try it! It really works.

5. Stay positive
It is given that not all people will respond to your donation calls; however it is very important to stay positive and believe there will be someone out there. Usually when I get discouraged from rejections, I’d like to remind myself the purpose of why I am standing there and the people who are in need of the donations.

6. Be passionate

This is the most important tip for being successful. If you are not passionate about the things you are doing, you will never be able to achieve high. If you want to volunteer, why not choose charity you are passionate about? You will find yourself doing better and being happier. 

Being brought up in a typical Chinese family in Australia, Vivian takes pride as an ABC (Australia-born Chinese) where she happily embraces both the Chinese and Australian cultures.  In high school, Vivian wanted to become a fashion designer, however she has developed a passion for running events after working backstage for multiple live shows. Prior to starting at Akolade, Vivian worked 4 years in the wine industry and she misses the wine tasting sessions and openly drinking on the job. As the Marketing Coordinator, Vivian enjoys using her creativity to design unique and fun campaigns for each event. In her spare time, Vivian loves to spend time with her two adorable cat and dog. 

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