In this post we will cover what is volunteering, lesser known examples, some pitfalls, common volunteering misconceptions and how to find and create volunteer opportunities for yourself!
What is volunteering?
Volunteering is when you donate your time or money to a person or an organization. Yes this is very broad and that is ok! This broad definition gives you the freedom to find what volunteer acts works for you.
I like volunteering honestly because it gets me out of the house and I always meet new people! which is hard and invaluable as an adult thank you.
Common misconceptions on volunteering:
- "It will take up so much of my time" - many organizations need long-term and also short-term volunteers for an hour or 2 a week or even less. When organizations are looking for volunteers they will not the time commitment in the notice. If they don't than ask before you commit.
- "I don't want to do "X" activity" - There are 2 types of volunteering, direct and indirect. Direct is doing an active task for an organization like planting trees, cleaning up litter, distributing food at a shelter. Indirect is supporting the organization that is doing the tasks. Examples of indirect service are staffing an organizations fundraisers, office/business support, Even though direct service is more "known", a lot of organizations need indirect service volunteers just as much as direct service ones. When you look for volunteer opportunities be 100% upfront with what you do and don't want to do and you'll find the right fit!
How to find volunteering opportunities:
- First task is look at what you like to do, match an organizations needs to your hobbies!
- Look for organizations that you like and have a genuine interest in and want to be a part of. Even if they don't have any volunteering information on their website reach out to them and share how you want to volunteer! Don't be afraid to create your volunteer opportunity.
- Join a philanthropy group. These groups can be a source for networking and also finding new friends. Just be mindful of dues and other requirements that may come along with these groups.
- When reaching out to an organization a call or email will do the trick, organizations love free help.
- For me volunteering is more fun with current friends. Having them around makes me comfortable and we usually get food/drinks before or after too!
Some Lesser Known Volunteering Examples:
- Baking or making blankets for a nursing home or community shelter
- Teaching a free community class on your favorite hobby
- Donating your professional services to an organization, ex. accounting, consulting or business support - this is also a great way to gain job experience!
- Helping an organization raise money at their fundraising event by helping with setup, staff tables or other tasks they need
- Biggest volunteering mistake is over committing. Be honest with yourself and the organization with how much of a time commitment you can give. You also don't want to over do it to the point where volunteering is a chore and not fun.
- Do through research on the organization you are interested in. If they seem very disorganized or not reputable it may be more stressful to get involved
Thanks for reading! Now with this information you can go out an make an impact on the world, big or small. Comment below with your favorite volunteer activities!
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