Giving back to your community is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. Through volunteer work, you can change the lives of others, grow personally and make a difference in your area of the world. But where do you start?
Volunteer opportunities aren’t hard to find. In fact, the choices might overwhelm you. Here are a few steps to follow to ensure your volunteer experience is a positive one, both for you and the agencies you volunteer with.
Studies have shown that volunteering can give you the upper hand in the job market. It’s also good for physical, mental and emotional well-being. Before you dive in, it’s a good idea to decide why you want to volunteer and how much time you can dedicate. Do you want to improve your skills, better your chances at getting a certain job or simply invest in others? Remember, volunteering is a commitment. Before you start, set a schedule. Decide how many hours per week you can volunteer and block them off.
What are you passionate about? What really gets you motivated to donate your time? There’s a volunteer opportunity for almost every cause, activity or interest, so do your research and find something that you’ll enjoy. Consider something that matches your skills, interests and schedule.
There’s no better place to give back than right in your own back yard. Many organizations like the United Way and Red Cross will have volunteer opportunities right in your hometown. Schools and other organizations are always looking for extra help. Check your local library or city web site to see what might be available. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, think about creating an opportunity that fits your interests.
If you can’t find anything locally, let your fingers do the walking. There are endless online resources that will help you find a way to volunteer in your community, or around the world.