Six Ways To Find the Perfect Opportunity
October 23, 2014 by Mark Dye
Volunteering your time to a non-profit is a fantastic way to give back to your community. Unfortunately, many organizations are seeing a decline in volunteering during a time when they really need a hand. Part of the reason is that many people just aren’t sure how to pick a place to volunteer—there are many organizations from which to choose, so most people aren’t even sure where to start.
The following tips can make it easier to pick a place to volunteer and, hopefully, will encourage you to give some of your time to what you think is a worthy cause.
Follow your heart
Are you an animal lover? Into saving the environment? Want to assist wounded military members? Whatever it is, pick the cause that is closest to your heart. You’ll have a much better time, be more motivated when there, and might even like it so much you become a long-term volunteer.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Some organizations might have recognizable names or missions that seem wonderful, but they might also be run poorly or just not meeting certain standards. Sites such as Charity Navigator are a good way to research an organization and how effective it is. And most organizations should be able to provide you with references from other volunteers so you can double check that the opportunity is the right one for you.
Consider your skills and experience, and what those can bring to an organization. After all, if doing hands-on work isn’t your thing, then helping to build or fix a house with a group like Habitat for Humanity or Rebuilding Together might not be the best choice. Make sure to ask what will be expected of you during your volunteer time, and if you can meet those expectations, before committing yourself.
Sometimes we all get caught up in the moment and want to help as much as we can, so we over-promise. The problem is that if you’re not able to deliver, the organization is going to be short a volunteer they had relied upon to help. So don’t commit yourself to tasks or expectations you can’t meet—it’s better to do a little well than do a lot poorly.
Volunteering as a family, or with a group of friends, can not only provide an organization with more volunteers, but can also be a very good time for everyone involved. And if you’re going to bring your children along to teach them the importance of giving back, make sure what you’re doing interests them and is appropriate for their age. The last thing you want is to discourage your kids from volunteering by having the day be boring.
Giving back should be more than just supporting this or that cause. It should be something that you truly enjoy and look forward to doing, whether you do it just once a year or once a week. Keep that in mind no matter the task and just enjoy yourself.
No matter where you choose to volunteer, if you do it with all of your heart and energy you truly can make a positive difference.
The following links can help you find the right volunteer opportunity