CAFOD volunteers give 4 key tips for successful volunteering

To celebrate National Volunteer’s Week, we asked volunteers from across the North East for their key tips and tricks that they could give to others. Here they chat to media coordinator Katie Binns about what they have learnt and what mistakes not to make:  

  1. “Use familiar objects to help children understand your message or appeal” 
Jo woodhead

Jo giver her tip to help Schools volunteers

Jo Woodhead,  schools volunteer for the Leeds diocese, explains why using familiar objects works so well with children: “When I was giving a schools workshop on a famine campaign last year, I split the children into groups to represent continents and gave them each different amounts of bread rolls. I shared it out unequally to get the message across that many communities in Africa have very little to eat compared to us here in the UK. They understood almost instantly and started a discussion on what we could do to help. Remember though to explain what the bread is for before handing it out otherwise the students will have eaten it all before you have begun your workshop!”

2. “Always write down and reflect on what you did that worked well”

Danielle Storey 2

Danielle suggests how to talk to the CAFOD community

Danielle Story, Step into the Gap volunteer from the Hexham and Newcastle diocese, shares her tip on talking to members of the CAFOD community: “Always do a fun but short icebreaker with any group you meet, you can use it to introduce the theme you are there to talk about. Also write down everything you’ve done after the talk or event so you can go back to it if you ever need to do something similar in another parish or to get more ideas and inspiration – I always forget what I’ve done otherwise and wouldn’t be able to improve as a volunteer!”

3. “Keep yourself up to date with CAFOD’s latest campaigns and appeals”

Liam Finn

Liam explains why doing your research is key

Liam Finn, UK News Officer and previous office volunteer for the Middlesbrough diocese, explains why researching before any event is key: “I’ve worked with CAFOD supporters across the country who have run races, walked on marches, or prayed on pilgrimages to support our appeals and campaigns – finding out their stories and telling them to a wider audience in newspapers, on radio and television, and in blogs and tweets. I would definitely say find out as much as you can about the different things that are going on in CAFOD – what we’re campaigning on or fundraising for. That way you know what to look for or talk about at every event.”

4. “Try to look at the story from a different angle”

Jo Hendrick

Joanne working in the Nottingham volunteer centre

Communications volunteer Joanne Hendrick, from the Nottingham diocese, explains how to write an engaging CAFOD piece: “I guess something I’ve always used from working in Communications, is not to just document an event for article verbatim, but make notes on the atmosphere too-it’s always helped me to make a piece of writing come alive!”

Find out how you can become a CAFOD volunteer

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