By Luci Gardner O’Brien
Campaigning for responsible volunteering has, and always will be, a big part of people and places. We are committed to the implementation of responsible volunteering, be it through our own placements, or by simply getting the information out there!
This is the main reason behind the launch of our Instagram page. Through our page we want to share, and create, an active discussion about HOW to volunteer responsibly. Lots of organisations have been campaigning, us included, about what NOT to do when volunteering – and rightly so! Although, by concentrating on the negatives, responsible volunteering is being defined through calling out BAD practice. We’re just worried that all this doom and gloom is putting individuals off volunteering – which is absolutely not our goal – so many projects need volunteers! Instead of only calling out bad practice, we feel there is a need to talk about the many ways to implement good practice. In our opinion it is absolutely fundamental to call out bad practice, but to also give guidance on good practice – this means giving tangible advice regarding responsible volunteering.
My name is Luci Gardner-O’Brien – I am people and places’ Young Professional Advisor and I am running our Instagram page.
I am a law graduate, from both a French and a British University, but most importantly I am a millenial. At people and places we know how fast things are moving – people are reading the news on their phones, listening to podcasts instead of the radio, and streaming their music instead of going to buy an actual record. We want to be part of this change. We want to create an open discussion about responsible volunteering. We want to share our experiences, the amazing things that we have seen, the incredible projects we work with, just as much as the bad experiences and the mistakes we have made along the years.
Having launched the Instagram page this March – we have been able to start talking about our work, and more importantly our campaigns. With our first campaign, “RESPONSIBLE”, we are going to touch on all aspects of this word, when it comes to volunteering at least!
While thinking about HOW we were going to get the message across, we started making lists – lists of things to do, things not to do etc. So we thought we’d post them! So far we have posted lists about our responsibility to volunteers, and how to seek support when you return from volunteering – there will be more to follow! Lists will not be the only content we will be posting – we want to take full advantage of the visual aspect of Instagram. On Instagram – for those who are wondering – you share images on your profile which you can add a small caption to. It is a perfect way to share the realities of volunteering with our followers – the incredible scenery, the vibrant projects, the thought-provoking social encounters, and many more positive experiences.
We want to share a realistic portrayal of volunteering – so you can know what to expect, but also so that you understand the impact that volunteering can have on communities. For example matching volunteers’ skills to particular projects has been the cornerstone of our practice at people and places. This practice has enabled our volunteers to truly flourish in projects that are adapted to their needs, and projects that need their skills! One of the first steps towards being responsible is understanding that you cannot simply book volunteering with the click of a button, like lots of volunteer organisations.
We are really looking forward to exploring the different ways volunteering can be RESPONSIBLE through our campaign. We will be talking about the different professions that need volunteers, about skills (and matching them with particular projects), the white saviour complex and many more topics! Stay tuned! Follow us here in Instagram