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How to Volunteer

So, you want to be a volunteer. Good for you! Volunteering is a great way to further a cause, support an organization, and make a difference in your community. It provides the opportunity to change people's lives, including your own. If you're feeling overwhelmed by news of a disaster, volunteering to help can be a great way to cope. If you'd like to support a cause but can't afford to donate money, donating your time is a great alternative. It can also be an opportunity to hone your skills, meet new people, and learn new things.

While the concept of volunteering is simple, there are a few factors you should consider before you decide to dedicate your time and energy to a particular organization. Questions you should ask yourself before you begin your volunteer work include: How much time and energy do you have to spare? What are your passions? What skills/talents do you have to offer? What do you hope to get out of volunteering?

Once you've considered these things, you'll be well on your way to doing volunteer work that best suits your lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Donate your time to an organization or activity that is important to you. There are all kinds of groups out there who do all sorts of meaningful work, but it is especially important when you volunteer that you choose a cause that you value personally.

  • Look for an organization or activity in your community. While the Peace Corps and other worldwide organizations offer great contributions in many parts of the world, you may want to start on a smaller scale. Volunteering somewhere in your area will also give you a chance to uphold your commitments at home.

  • If you do plan on traveling abroad to volunteer, do plenty of research on where you're going and what to expect. Talk to your doctor about getting the appropriate immunizations for your destination, and ask other volunteers who have traveled with the organization to share their experiences with you.

  • Find an organization and tasks within it that suits your skills and interests. Part of volunteering is learning new things, but you can still find work that is compatible with activities you enjoy. Perhaps you love working with people, or animals, or children. Maybe you're handy at building things, or you're particularly good with numbers. You may be surprised at the various skills that organizations are looking for in volunteers.

  • Start small. If you already have a lot on your plate, start by volunteering one or two hours of your time each week, or even just one day a month. You might be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a little bit of time. If you enjoy the work you've done and can dedicate more time to it, gradually take on more.

  • Get to know your fellow volunteers and how the organization will support you. If a training or orientation session is available, attend it. If not, talk to group leaders and other volunteers about the work they do. Ask a lot of questions. This will help make your work there be more meaningful and more productive.

  • The most important thing to remember when volunteering is to have fun. Enthusiasm is contagious, and you will accomplish more if you're doing something you love.

 


 

Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen


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