People volunteer for various reasons – they feel good about working for a cause close to their heart; they have a sense of achievement having contributed something beneficial to the community; they make new friends with common interests; they feel happier, healthier and useful; they feel mentally stimulated and volunteering provides a sense of purpose to them; they learn new skills and in some cases, it helps them advance their career.
A Skill Marathon provides all of that and more to the group of volunteers participating in it. Skill Marathon, a unique activity organized by iVolunteer, is a type of skill-based volunteering that uses the marathon model to leverage competitive spirit of participants to achieve maximum social impact in a limited time by creating a highly productive environment.
The Mumbai edition of the Skill Marathon was held on 6th November 2019 and was hosted by Menarini India Pvt. Ltd., in Parel, Mumbai. The Mumbai team, being fairly new to the organization, was equally excited and nervous about the event. The team had shortlisted three projects each from three non-profits (Anandi Special School, Rnisarg Foundation and Srujna Charitable Trust) to participate in the Skill Marathon. Seven volunteers from Menarini from different backgrounds like Human Resources, Marketing and Communications had agreed to give their time and skills and help the NGOs address their skill gap.
The NGOs were from diverse backgrounds – Anandi being a special school for differently-abled children, Rnisarg works towards improving civic issues in the city through citizen engagement and Srujna provides livelihood opportunities for underprivileged women. Representatives from all the three NGOs were present and the room was positively charged by the vibrant interactions between the volunteers, NGO personnel and the iVolunteer team.
The marathon was a six-hour long arduous session, with the volunteers engrossed in their respective projects. And for the entire duration of time, there were animated conversations; vital questions being asked by the volunteers and spirited answers from the NGO representatives. At the end of the day, six of the nine projects were accomplished and three needed some more time and attention from the volunteers.
A fruitful and an eventful day, it was a wonderful learning experience for the entire team, who could witness volunteers actually taking out time from their busy schedules and spending it with the NGO members to actually understand the projects and use their skills to address the NGO needs. There was passion; there was commitment, open mind and positive attitude, all of that working together to help the team run a successful marathon.