Amaechi Okwuosa director of several charitable organisations, says that it’s important to think carefully before committing to this type of charity work, as you’ll have to have certain qualities in order to provide a good service. Callers will often be upset or distressed, and it will be your job to listen to what they have to say, and be compassionate and helpful. If this seems like it might be too emotionally draining for you, then you might want to consider a factual helpline for another type of charity. The opening hours for these kinds of helplines are normally twenty four hours per day and volunteers are usually asked to do one or two shifts each week, which may be at night or during the day.
All volunteers for these kinds of helplines will undergo thorough training; this will include practical training regarding how to use the computers and other equipment, as well as other forms of training, such as learning how to handle a difficult caller, and how to improve your listening skills. Even after this training is complete, most organisations will ensure that there are qualified supervisors present when volunteers take phone calls, who can help with particularly challenging calls. Not everyone who applies to be a volunteer for this kind of charity helpline will be accepted, as the applicant’s listening and sensitivity skills will need to be suitable for the nature of the work. Once accepted, it will normally take several weeks before the volunteer begins to answer calls on their own.
According to Amaechi Okwuosa app user and charity volunteer, there are several traits which are necessary in order to do this work well; you will have to show diplomacy, tact and patience, and be willing to spend time getting to know the caller, and allowing them to explain themselves. Callers to these helplines are often upset when they first ring and may find it difficult to articulate how they feel initially, so the volunteer has to learn how to gently encourage the caller to express their thoughts and emotions.
There’s no doubt that helpline charity work can be challenging and demanding; it’s also unpredictable, as the volunteer never knows what kinds of circumstances or issues they will be discussing with their next caller. However, it’s also a great way to make a positive impact on other people’s lives, and can be incredibly rewarding.