After arriving in Melbourne in August 2017 from Mumbai, Hemangi started working in the IT department of Furry Friends just a month later. Initially her role was in IT support, however she quickly moved across departments to become the Volunteer Admin Team leader, where she was responsible for looking after groups of foster carers and answering adoption and surrender inquiries. This gave Hemangi a bigger picture of the organisation as a whole and led her to becoming a key part of Furry Friend’s transition to using Shelter Manager as our animal records database application. She was heavily involved in helping the other volunteers learn how to use the database after teaching herself.
Hemangi says she was motivated to volunteer with Furry Friends through her love of volunteering and desire to learn more about her new home. She had previously volunteered in Mumbai working with women, children and aged people however in Australia she found a new opportunity. Her self-described ‘crazy cat lady’ personality and the virtual nature of working with Furry Friends became the perfect combination. Being able to devote her spare time to working for the betterment of her beloved cats while still working full time is Hemangi’s favourite part of volunteering with Furry Friends.
Through working with us, Hemangi has been able to implement all of her previous knowledge and has picked up a few new skills along the way, too! This includes essential communication skills and using social media as an effective tool to engage with our audience. These skills became vital when she started working with the Ronald McDonald House. The culture of working within a charity organisation was familiar to her through her previous volunteer work and Hemangi was able to fit in seamlessly in her new workplace. She regularly uses interpersonal skills she developed working with Furry Friends while working alongside 65 staff members at Ronald McDonald house and feels connected to the charity and their mission.
But volunteering doesn’t just bring us professional benefits. “Volunteering at Furry Friends helps me connect with people from different spheres in life,” Hemangi says, “It also brings me happiness and a sense of fulfillment.”
For anyone considering volunteering for the first time, Hemangi recommends considering what cause you’re passionate about and what skills you have that could benefit a charity organisation. Your goals and how you want to spend your time are also critical to consider. Find a position you can enjoy and fulfil. Hemani says, “The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organisation.”
Tyler Smith for FFARQ