Be a volunteer
“Ponte En Algo” offers volunteers in Panama the opportunity to link with the causes and solidarity organizations of our country through a virtual and interactive tool.
Channel our help to those who need it most; Is now more accessible than ever. Just look for the volunteer opportunities or the NGOs that motivate and interest you, and encourage you to participate.
Before you do, however, it is important that you know what it means to be a volunteer, so that your experience is as successful as possible. Remember that volunteering is one of the most rewarding experiences there are. With each solidarity action in which we become involved, we become true agents of change. Volunteering also means honoring the commitments we have made and being respectful of the standards of the organizations where we carry out our voluntary work.
Who can volunteer?
We can all be volunteers! Regardless of age, sex, profession or belief, we can all give our time and talent to help those who need it most through individual actions or through the organizations you find on this page.
If you have the desire to help and do not know where to start, a good place to do it is registering at www.Ponteenalgo.com to access volunteer opportunities regularly published by non-governmental organizations in Panama. There you will find opportunities of all kinds, that can be adjusted to your interests and availability.
Professionals can also help others through volunteer work by applying their skills, experience and knowledge. Whether face-to-face or virtual, practitioners can apply what they know to volunteer work.
What kind of volunteer work can be done?
Voluntary actions can be continuous (require a more permanent commitment) or punctual (such as annual participation in an activity). It can also involve working directly with people or in the community (in person), or from your home or office using technology tools (remotely or virtual).
Volunteer opportunities are as diverse as the different needs around us. Some volunteer activities can be completed within a few hours (such as participating in beach cleaning) while others require a longer-term commitment (weeks, months, or years).
Some volunteer work can be relatively simple (such as serving food in a shelter) while others may require a higher level of specialization (such as providing legal advice to at-risk women or families).
Volunteering offers us the opportunity to do activities individually, in a group (such as corporate volunteers or others), and even with the family. The important thing is to recognize that all volunteer work is valuable!
Some examples of volunteer work that you can organize or involve in a community organization or NGO are:
• Visiting the sick or elderly
• Collect, organize and transport canned food or drinks for donations
• Read to those who can not do it
• Entertaining, playing or accompanying rides to children in need of accompaniment
• Help organize events for the benefit of the community or an organization
• Raise funds or participate in collections
• Participate in environmental care activities
• Paint, repair, build
• Serving or preparing food in shelters
• Arranging or planting gardens
• Sharing with people living on the street
• Participate in walks or events to mobilize support for a cause from your profession or trade.
You can also give your help to many causes and organizations, for example:
If you are a business administrator, industrial engineer, accountant or lawyer, you can advise nonprofit organizations on project formulation, organizational development, fundraising strategies, or reviewing their financial statements or legal documents.
If you are a health professional, such as a dentist, nurse or doctor, you can take care of people of limited resources in your own clinic or approach an organization to offer its services to the beneficiary population.
If you are a journalist, publicist, marketing expert, graphic designer or programmer, you can support an organization to develop communication and marketing strategies, to disseminate its activities, to develop brochures or
Bulletins, to elaborate web pages or to implement strategies to insert themselves into social networks.
If you are a professional athlete or sports enthusiast, you can offer classes or train children and young people.
If you are a construction professional, electrician, engineer or architect you can offer job training workshops.
If you are an actor, musician, set designer, dancer or painter, offer training workshops or organize competitions between young people and children or through some organization.
If you are a cultural manager, historian or artist, you can also serve as a guide in exhibitions, museums or to advise cultural organizations.
How can I know what kind of volunteer activity is right for me?
To have a successful experience, it is important to ask yourself some questions before volunteering or volunteering:
• What realities do you care about or are you interested in?
• What causes you to be passionate about?
• What do you know how to do? Take into account all your skills and knowledge.
• What do you like to do?
• Considering your professional and family commitments, how much real time do you have to devote to volunteer work? Depending on your time availability
• Do you think you can regularly join an organization?
• Is it more feasible to provide occasional services?
• Is it more feasible to take a voluntary action by setting aside a day or weekend to carry out a particular activity?
• What is your emotional capacity to face different situations?
• Do you want to work directly with people or prefer to support administrative tasks such as fundraising or marketing?
• Look for volunteer opportunities that appear on this page whose needs match your interests and your availability of time.
• Remember that if the time requirement that indicates the opportunity does not match your availability, it is still worth contacting the organization and discussing it directly. Maybe they can come to an agreement that will satisfy them both.
• If at any time you do not find an opportunity that matches your interests or time, approach some of the organizations listed in the directory and offer your support. Together they will be able to design a meaningful volunteer work.
After identifying an organization or volunteer opportunity that interests me, what steps should I take to participate?
1. Express interest: The first thing to do is to communicate with the organization that interests you through your telephone number, email or following the link in Ponte Som Something that says “Participate” and that appears at every opportunity, to express your Interest in volunteering.
2. Visit the organization: once you have communicated with the organization, coordinate a visit to hold an interview with the volunteer.
During the visit:
• Know the work done by the organization
• Know the details about volunteer work so that there is clarity on both sides, the objectives of the volunteer, its duration, the time you will dedicate and what are the expectations of the organization and yours about voluntary action.
• If you are able to offer something new to the organization, this is the time to discuss and organize it.
• See if your organization has policies or standards for volunteer work so that you become familiar with them.
• Feel free to ask questions and propose a trial period.
Remember that each organization has procedures for introducing volunteers. The organization may ask you to fill out an application form, provide references or provide your resume.
3. Evaluate the opportunity:
If after evaluating all these elements, you come to an agreement with the organization about the voluntary work you will perform, agree on a start date. Make sure you know who within the organization will be monitoring and supporting you.
It is important to recognize that many non-profit organizations carry out sensitive missions and work with at-risk populations. Understand that, in some cases, you will be asked to commit yourself to comply with the institution’s own rules.
Remember: do not commit yourself beyond what you can truly give. Organizations need to know if they can count on you.
If during the visit you believe that the organization or the volunteer opportunity is not the most suitable for you, do not hesitate to say it. They will thank you.
If for the moment the chosen organization does not need your offer or could not reach an agreement on voluntary action, do not be discouraged. See if you can stay in the organization’s database to communicate with you should other opportunities or events arise in which you can participate.
Also, visit www.PonteEnAlgo.com where you can find volunteering opportunities published periodically by more than 70 national organizations.
What considerations should I keep in mind when I volunteer?
When you volunteer, keep in mind:
• Like all human relationships, you will find satisfactions and also problems. Keep in mind that, despite the difficulties, the important thing is to contribute to a solidarity action.
• When working with children, young people or any type of population, you become a role model.
By volunteering for an organization, we become its representatives. At all times, our work must reflect commitment, quality and seriousness.
Also remember to keep an attitude:
• Positive: a good disposition and encouragement are the best contribution you can give.
• Compliment: if someday you are going to be late or you will not arrive, warns. Organizations and their beneficiaries are counting on you.
• Respectful: Every organization has its rules and way of working. All are valid and legitimate, so you must respect them.
• Responsible: every voluntary activity we do must reflect quality, commitment and seriousness. The abandonment of your work without warning creates gaps in the institution and can hurt those who count on your presence or support. When you can not continue your volunteer work, or you need to modify your commitment due to lack of time or other motivation, join with the organization. It is preferable to warn in time to generate false expectations.