One thing we’ve learned on this trip is what it means to be a volunteer and truly help an organization. The time we’ve contributed to different groups and communities throughout this around-the-world journey has been a little helpful. Whether it’s sorting through donated clothing or picking up trash, our efforts have done some things to improve the world in very small ways. However, much more so our short-term volunteer work has enriched our own understanding of the issues faced in other countries and our family’s role in this global community. More than anything else, the organizations we’ve worked with have taught us valuable lessons. We’ve been the ones benefiting the most. So now it becomes about repaying this favor. How can we continue to support them after we’re gone? In many cases, this remote work is more valuable to nonprofits because often it involves skills they can’t find easily in the local community.
Our latest project for Caring for Cambodia (CFC) is a perfect example. While we were in Siem Reap this past January we served meals to students and helped reorganize the storage unit full of donated items. However, these activities were really a way for us to better understand this organization and how it serves the community. The work I’ve done for CFC since we’ve been gone is actually more valuable to the staff. In using my own professional skill set and my personal experience as an onsite volunteer, I was able to create a packet of information that will be distributed to CFC’s future volunteers. This was something the staff wanted to get done, but they were having difficulty finding the time and skill set needed to address the project. Now they have it, and they can easily modify it as needed.
Whether it’s writing, accounting, web design, public relations or a multitude of other skills, you can be an incredible resource to a worthy nonprofit without even leaving your home. All you have to do is reach out to them and offer your assistance. For anyone looking to connect with nonprofits serving this struggling country with so many opportunities yet so much need for assistance, we can vouch for both Caring for Cambodia and Journeys Within Our Community. These organizations get it and they know how to make the most of the dollars and volunteers they bring in to serve the Cambodian citizens.