Earlier this year we ran our member survey and a third of respondents told us that they would be interested in volunteering. This is amazing and we want to make sure that you know how you can get involved with our community.
We're aware that many of you may volunteer outside of your interest in the chemical sciences and many of you already volunteer with us. Volunteering isn't something that has to be done but often people don’t know where or how to start volunteering or find volunteering opportunities.
Nine percent of the survey respondents told us that they are currently involved with the Royal Society of Chemistry as a volunteer and we know that this is through a variety of activities, such as a representative on a committee, outreach, mentoring, and many other ways. Our survey also told us that there are more members that want to volunteer but don't know how or where to start.
A third of our member survey respondents said they want to get more involved with volunteering.
We asked respondents to share with us how we could support them in volunteering and almost half suggested that receiving more information on volunteering opportunities and increasing the number of opportunities local to them would encourage them to be more involved as a volunteer. We therefore wanted to take the time to make sure that you know how you can get involved in volunteering with the Royal Society of Chemistry.
You might have seen that the first week of June was National Volunteers Week in which we, alongside many other organisations, recognised the many people that volunteer for us and said a big thank you for their time and commitment. We appreciate that it’s hard to reach everyone, so we want to say thank you again. One of our education coordinators, Heather Milton, told us of how important Royal Society of Chemistry member volunteers are to the work that she and her colleagues do within outreach:
On Saturday 2 June, during Volunteers Week, five RSC volunteers ran a stand at the first ever Angus STEM festival. Although this is a relatively small event that was running for the first time, there was a lot of interest from potential volunteers. Without volunteers, our outreach events wouldn’t happen, whether they’re two/three-day events with 20+ volunteers, or a small local event with two volunteers. Every event has a different audience, and the volunteers are the most important part of engaging that audience with the chemistry. Of the 12 volunteers I’ve worked with on three events so far this year, we have quite a diverse range of chemistry backgrounds. This is an added bonus for events like the STEM festival as it helps to raise awareness of the variety of chemistry careers available. The reasons volunteers have for taking part are really varied – building CVs, working on communication skills, getting more involved with local communities and even keeping in touch with the wider world while on maternity leave are all reasons I’ve heard this year.
Our Community News pages online and in Voice showcase a diverse selection of stories from our community of what people are up to and how they are volunteering their time for chemistry. We love hearing what you're up to so if you have a story to share with us please get in touch with the press office using the contact box on the left, or on Twitter using @RoySocChem and #Time4Chem.
There are many ways that you can volunteer with our activities depending on your availability and interests. We asked a few of our members to share their experience of volunteering with our different initiatives:
I was already involved with the RSC as part of their mentoring scheme. I had volunteered for this as I felt it would be a great opportunity to give something back to the society by supporting fellow members and sharing my working experiences. I found that to be extremely rewarding, so when the industry representative post became available in my company, it seemed like an obvious next step. It’s a really good feeling to know I am the face of the RSC within Envigo, helping to promote professional development for chemists at various stages of their careers. The role takes me outside my day-to-day routine, meeting different people from around my organisation. It is important for me that people are given opportunities to develop and succeed to the best of their ability and I feel I am contributing to that in a small way through my work with the RSC.
I am really pleased that I have been able to make a difference with my mentee. It feels great to be able to give something back as a member. It has been amazing to see the changes in confidence and the progress he has made.
Volunteering is a great way for you to learn new skills, gain experience, network and meet new people, but it also has a big impact on those around you. By doing outreach, you might be supporting the education of a future scientist; through mentoring another member, you can support them in their career development; and by becoming one of our Chemists’ Community Fund volunteers, you could provide a member with encouragement through a difficult time.
The volunteer was a great help to me and I found his thoughtful and friendly discussion very beneficial.
If you’re interested in volunteering for us and want to find out more then visit our volunteering web page. We know that not all volunteering opportunities are for everyone and some require specific skills so if you’re not sure where to start then get in touch using the contact box below. Even if there isn’t anything for you at the moment, we’d love to hear from you about how you might want to get involved in the future.
Interested in volunteering but not sure which route will suit you? For these and all other questions, contact the team.