Are you interested in volunteering, but don’t know where or how to get started? Then you’re in the right place! We’re breaking down the benefits of volunteering, how to use your passions and strengths to find the perfect volunteer position for you, and how to go about getting started with volunteering!
Benefits of Volunteering
Volunteerism has many benefits, and every volunteer will grow in unique ways as a result of each individual position, company, and activity. Because these individual experiences result in such different growth outcomes, it is important to be constantly seeking new and diverse volunteer opportunities, as you will gain a unique set of skills and will be more fulfilled emotionally.
For example, a volunteer seeking to improve their repair and renovation skills could volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. HFH volunteers transform their communities, working alongside professionals who teach them valuable trades such as learning to use power tools. The HFH volunteers are also likely become more confident in their abilities to fix broken items in their homes. A volunteer who desires to get healthier or gain new friendships may participate in a Walk for Cancer event. Not only would the volunteer be raising awareness and money for cancer, but he/she would also be getting their heart-rate up alongside like-minded individuals. This allows plenty of time for meaningful conversations that could build lasting relationships – all while supporting an important cause!
In addition to the more specialized skills earned, most volunteer opportunities will also provide more general benefits, such as improving teamwork skills, gaining a new sense of purpose, and improving the community. When we better our communities through volunteerism, we create a more enjoyable place to live, help the lives of others, and enhance our relationships with those around us!
Finding the Best Position for You
We suggest beginning your volunteer search by examining your passions and talents. If you personally relate to the organization’s mission or if you feel that your strengths would be especially beneficial to the organization’s operations, you are likely to find the position more fulfilling. Unsure where your talents lie? Take Scuffed Entertainment’s What are My Strengths? quiz. Once the quiz generates your strengths, use them to brainstorm possible organizations that would be able to utilize them. And, get creative with it! For example, someone with talent in communications could be a perfect addition to a nonprofit’s marketing and fundraising team!
Consider a Position Related to Your Career
In addition, searching for volunteer positions related to your career is another great way to find the perfect organization for you! For example, student volunteers who hope to improve their resume or college application could visit TeenLife, which finds volunteer opportunities in teens’ communities that will make them more desirable to employers and colleges. The teen can specify their educational interest, choosing from STEM, art, language, etc., and the website will generate volunteer positions that are related to the student’s potential career pathway.
Even if you are already far along in your career, volunteering for an organization that relates to it could give you a fresh perspective! If you work as a teacher, as a professor, or in administration for a school, apply to be a tutor for an educational nonprofit, like E.R.E.! If you work in finance, apply to work for an organization’s fundraising team. There are positions for every career focus. Think outside of the box, and get excited about what you can bring to the table! Not only will you be using your expertise to improve the organization’s operations, you will also benefit from the unique opportunity. You will learn different aspects of your field, build meaningful connections with people in your professional network, and procure new exciting ideas to bring to your workplace.
Now is the Time to Begin Volunteering
Finding an organization to volunteer with can seem daunting, especially because there are so many options and it’s likely a new experience for you. Our hope is that you can go into your volunteer search with confidence, knowing that you have already determined your skills and passions. To narrow down your search even more, we suggest using a website like VolunteerMatch, Taproot, or Games for Change. These sites allow their users to search for opportunities with preferences in location, skills needed, and organization type. If you are local, Dallas Going Good has volunteer opportunities in Dallas, Volunteer Houston has opportunities in Houston, and Chicago Cares has opportunities in Chicago! When you have found an organization that suits your preferences, visit its website to apply for a volunteer position. We recommend specifying your personal skills in your application, as the organization will often place you based on your abilities. Once you’ve applied, you’ll be helping to improve your community in no time!