Aarti Madhusudan, a Whiteboard program manager and a DaanUtsav volunteer has been volunteering for as long as she can remember.
I was fortunate to go to schools that encouraged this and also came from a family that had a strong tradition of giving back. I was therefore very clear about what I wished to do, from very young on. I have a masters in social work from Tata institute of social sciences, an M Phil from NIMHANS. Over the years, post my graduation and having worked with a few NGOS, began to develop an interest in how NGos were governed, how does their Board work, and what could one do to make them more efficient. I was fortunate to get a Fellowship to spend some time at Board source, in Washington, which enabled me to get deeper insights into the role of non profit /NGO governance.
What does volunteering mean to you? – It validates me. I enjoy giving back and actually realise that I do so because it brings ME great joy- I meet some amazing people, inspiring, kind, interesting …its wonderful
How have you got involved with skill based volunteering? – Had a number of friends who managed or ran different NGOs and who kept telling me that they need more help in their NGO – much of the help needed was around enabling their organisations to become more effective – through improving core management areas such as marketing, HR, finance, systems etc . Also on the other hand , found corporate professionals mid to senior willing to spend a few hours helping organisations and also wanting to give back meaningfully through their knowledge and expertise. Whiteboard was an initiative that was created to make both sides of the issue meet to create a win- win situation.
Can you explain what is Skill Based Volunteering (SBV) and its importance and relevance today- Non profits struggle with finding support for core management areas in terms of core competence at an affordable price. They also do not usually need this expertise full time. SBV is a means to harness the existing skills that we have in people, willing to volunteer their time, to enable NGOs in the areas that they struggle with.
For an organisation, what are the benefits of involving their employees in SBV – The single biggest benefit, is that it pushes the employee to try and use her/his skills in a far more challenging and resource constrained context. It also develops sensitivity in the employee towards social causes and hopefully instils a greater sense of duty as opposed to entitlement
What are the benefits to a volunteer who are involved in SBV? – It offers the opportunity to every individual to bring out the best in themselves both from a goodness point of view as well as from a competence/expertise point of view.
I would like to conclude by saying, one must volunteer in whatever way possible in order to aid to the social development of our country. It leaves you with a great feeling knowing you have done your bid to society.