On a couple of occasions, I have posted about the benefits of being a volunteer. (75 Reasons to Volunteer, 7 Reasons to Volunteer) If you want to make a difference in your community and in your own life, volunteering is the way to go.
Once you’ve decided that you would like to give something back to your community, how decide if a volunteer opportunity is right for you? Create a “shopping list” of things you like to gain from your volunteer experience. What features are essential? What would be ideal if you were designing the volunteer job of your dreams?
Ask yourself these questions when considering a volunteer experience:
- Does the volunteer role match my interests and values?
- Am I comfortable with the people I will be helping and the people I will be working with?
- Will I be able to learn or sharpen my skills?
- Will I get orientation and training?
- Will I be able to use some of my own ideas?
- Does the opportunity fit the amount of time I can give?
- Is it at a time convenient to me?
- Does it require a short- or long-term commitment from me?
- Is there opportunity for advancement or more challenge?
- Is it in a location I can get to?
- Are there any expenses like transportation, parking or admission?
- Does the experience provide me with a written evaluation?
- Will I get a reference if I do a good job?
Volunteering is a win-win experience. And when you find a volunteer role that’s right for you, everyone comes out ahead.