It’s time to wrap up the Volunteering focused quarter. This one seemed to fly by. It looks like I’m at around 145 hours so far this year, which puts me ahead of last year. Volunteering is my primary method of Being Goode. For me it’s both the easiest and most rewarding. I’ve never donated a lot of money but I always have time to give.
People always ask me how I found my volunteer gigs. I think one way is that I always have my eyes and ears open to possibilities. I volunteer for Crisis Text Line because of an article I found in a magazine. I came across the Invictus games because of a news article about Prince Harry. I started volunteering at 826LA/Seattle because I love the author Dave Eggers and it’s an organization he started. I volunteered at the Cincinnati Ballet because I took ballet classes growing up. A friend helped me get into volunteering at the Special Olympic World Games. I see things and wonder if I can help, and then I follow-up.
Here are some other ways to find volunteer opportunities –
- Talk to Friends
- Do your friends volunteer already? Ask if you can join them. If they aren’t already volunteering ask what they’re passionate about. There could be something you could do together instead of your normal activities.
- Check with Your Employer
- The company I work for offers lots of opportunities to volunteer. Fellow employees post volunteer opportunities on a monthly calendar that you can search. At other places I’ve worked they’ve posted things on the bulletin board.
- Search for Organizations You Love
- Is literacy something you care deeply about? Does homelessness in your area break your heart? Do you love the arts? Start from your passion and search the Internet. You’ll likely find a few organizations in your area and their websites will have links to volunteer applications.
- Search by a Skill You Want to Share
- Are you athletic or have coaching skills? Would you like to share some of your professional skills? Do you enjoy cooking? Can you knit or sew? You can often find a volunteer opportunity by your skills. Girls on the Run and the Special Olympics both need coaches/runners. Many non-profits need people to help with accounting/data entry/marketing skills. Some shelters offer classes in basic life skills like cooking that you could teach or assist with. You could knit or sew things for preemies or other people in the hospital.
Whether it’s an hour or hundreds I think you’ll find it very rewarding. It’s also something you can put on a resume and a great way to meet new people. Often you’ll find that volunteer can be a once in a lifetime experience.
How do you find volunteer experiences?