I hear it from my friends all of the time, “Where would I find the time? Would it really make a difference?” But, before you begin thinking of all the reasons why volunteering isn’t for you, take a moment and consider thoughtfully and honestly the benefits of volunteering to others and what it can mean to you.
One of the wonderful aspects of volunteering is the wide range of opportunities available. Not just in the particular organization but also in the amount of time and effort involved. The important issue is to find the right match for you.
Begin by asking yourself a few simple questions.
- How much time do I want to set aside for volunteer work?
The time you commit can range from daily hours to once a month and even just a yearly special event for the organization.
- What level of responsibility do I want?
If it is a leadership role that appeals to you, then you might consider joining a Board of Directors for a local non-profit. You can also simply volunteer to answer phones or prepare mailings for a simpler commitment.
- Where groups interest me?
If it is children you love to be around, local elementary schools have programs where you listen to children read. If it is babies, there are hospitals that ask for volunteers to simply spend time holding the premature infants. Once you have identified your particular interests, then begin searching for matching organizations.
- What activities interest me?-
You can also volunteer without even leaving your home. There are groups that collect quilts, knitted blankets and other home made items that are distributed to children and adults in need.
Once you have button down those answers begin looking for a match. Whether you live in a large urban city or a small rural town, you will find endless opportunities.
Here are a few places to start and of course there is the fall back of an Internet search.
- Post on your FB page, announcing what you are looking for and ask for referrals of places that might need help
- Contact your local Red Cross
- Visit your local library
- Reach out to schools
- Talk to leadership at your churches
- Search the local newspapers for listings
- Consider animal rescues for your local zoos.
- Give a call to local Day Care centers
- Check our local non-profits from the arts to healthcare.
- Give time to your local hospitals
Taking the time to consider all of the options available to you is indeed time well spent! Throughout the years I have volunteered for a variety of organizations and institutions from the kid’s classroom to major sporting events. Some of the experiences were wonderful, some boring, some difficult, some frustrating, but each experience had one important thing in common; it made a difference! I have learned to be more selective as I have learned what is important to me when I volunteer. You will also discover what is important to you and how you can make a difference and impact the lives of others. Give it a try!