Here at Action we think our volunteers are amazing! They really are essential to the charity’s fundraising efforts; from sports events, to lunches, to national cream tea campaigns… we have a lot going on throughout the year. But we appreciate that you do too (!), which is why we like to remind people about ‘microvolunteering’ opportunities.
Susmitha Dhavala, 20, is a student at University College of London – she explains how helping Action one night a year not only helped raise thousands for medical research, but also opened opportunities for her too...
How did you first hear about Action?
I had signed up to the ‘Volunteering Services Unit’ at my University and received regular notifications from them regarding new opportunities I could get involved with. I remember stumbling upon the ‘Champions of Cycle Sport Dinner’ event, and how the money raised was going into funding medical research. I then did my own bit of research to find out more about Action to see what the charity does.
Why did you want to get involved and help?
Being a medical student, and reading through the Action Medical Research’s website really did astound me. Whether it be reading about the history of the charity and how it helped to implement the Polio vaccine in 1962, to reading about current pioneering research for brain tumours... Their resilience and ground-breaking research is phenomenal, and it only fuelled my interest further. Thus, I went onto read more about different research projects they were initiating. It really did excite me, knowing they were venturing into so many fields of medicine, to improve/save so many more lives. It felt like a privilege to be able to help at such an event, and volunteer for such a beautiful cause.
“And that’s the beauty of micro-volunteering, it only takes as much time as you’re able to give so it fits in nicely with your usual commitments.”
Can you give some examples of what kind of volunteering you have done for Action?
I have volunteered for Action once so far, but would love to be involved in so many more events in the future. The one event I did volunteer at was the Champions of Cycle Sport Charity Dinner.
Susmitha volunteered her time at the ‘Champions of Cyclesport Dinner’ in 2017
Did you need any specific skills?
The volunteering role did require certain skills such as good communication and being comfortable with approaching people. Furthermore, it required working strategically and being a team player. This is because me and the group of people I was working with had to help with the auction happening that night.
How much of your spare time did it take up?
Not long; it took up one evening which lasted about six hours. And that’s the beauty of micro-volunteering, it only takes as much time as you’re able to give so it fits in nicely with your usual commitments.
“I urge people to go over to their various social media platforms, just to see how much their (Action) work has made an impact on the world we live in: truly incredible!”
What did you gain from helping?
The best thing I gained from helping was to be told soon after that the auction event raised £50,000 which contributed to the total of around £260,000 raised overall that night. This was due to people’s compassion and generosity, but it was incredibly satisfying to know that myself and the other volunteers helped with raising that amount. I can’t imagine how much of a difference that money will make to medical research and the impact it will on children lives.
I also further developed my skills that night, from being a host. My involvement opened more opportunities for me, allowing me to be involved with more of Action’s work. For example, recently I attended a fellowship presentation on Systemic Lupus Erythematous. For this, I’d like to thank Action’s current Community Fundraiser, Katia King, for her kindness and inviting me along.
Why should anyone consider helping Action with ‘microvolunteering’?
‘Microvolunteering’ fits around to your schedule, so you can choose when you want to volunteer, based on your other commitments. It is a charity that really does do so much. I urge people to go over to their various social media platforms, just to see how much their work has made an impact on the world we live in: truly incredible! You also meet many friendly people along the way, and can better your skills in so many ways too. It is honestly a privilege to use those skills to bring about a change.