As part of our series of Volunteers’ Week posts, Laura Esplin a former Project Scotland volunteer, shares her experiences of volunteering on the programme and in the Capability Scotland fundraising team.
I started volunteering with Capability Scotland as an intern through Project Scotland. Like many people who volunteer through Project Scotland, my motivations were to gain some new skills whilst ‘making a difference’, or having a positive impact on the charity I chose to volunteer for. In my case, I wished to make a career move into the world of fundraising and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to gain experience with! I received great support throughout the project and the internship was a fantastic opportunity to step outside my comfort zone and adapt myself to a new role.
The team at Capability Scotland offered me the chance to learn by shadowing; sitting in on everything from strategic meetings to the launch of a new sensory theatre at one of their schools. It was an inspiring way to see the full extent of what they do and the direct impact of their fundraising. I did proper (voluntary) work too of course! From helping them with research and office support, to cheering on some very wet but determined walkers at The Edinburgh Kiltwalk! I had heaps of fun, made many memories and have some new life experience to draw upon.
Throughout my volunteering I enjoyed the camaraderie of working in a fundraising department and the knowledge that my time and effort was contributing in a positive way to the work of the organisation. Since my internship, I gained a post at another Scottish-based charity and after a bit of time I also gained a fundraising position. This is undoubtedly due to the experience, encouragement from others and confidence I gained from my volunteering role – I feel lucky to have had such an experience and would recommend to anyone that they should seize any volunteer opportunity that is good for others and good for you.
Studies show that volunteering benefits your health; it’s empowering to feel happy by the act of helping others and/or supporting others in the work that they do, even more so when doing something you find rewarding or inspiring. You never know, you might meet some brilliant people while you’re at it – so take action, sign up, GO volunteer!