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.
Once a month, my wife and I volunteer to visit a seniors home and conduct a church service for them. Periodically we wonder about our time commitment to these folks, but their gratitude each month helps us see the importance of being there.
If you want to make a difference in your community and in your own life, volunteering is the way to go. Here are seven reasons why you should make the commitment.
- To give something back to others – First and foremost, volunteering is about giving. Agencies and organization that require volunteer services are generally involved in improving society and the world around them. When you volunteer, you contribute to their efforts to improve life.
- To learn something about yourself – You might find out you have a knack for relating to seniors. You might have compassion when working with people during disasters. When volunteering puts you in new situations, you discover skills and traits you may not have used before.
- Because you have a passion – You love animals, so you get involved with an animal shelter. You’re concerned about the environment, so you join a wetlands cleaning project. You practice magic tricks in your spare time, so you entertain at a children’s hospital. Put your passion to work.
- To develop new skills – Get involved with Habitat for Humanity and learn how to put up drywall. Volunteer in a suicide-prevention program and learn crisis intervention. Many volunteer organizations provide training for the skills you will need to use.
- To have some fun – An afternoon of baseball as a Big Brother will be far more entertaining than sitting on the couch watching baseball.
- To improve your resume – If you’re a web designer and you volunteer to build a web site, you have a new entry in your portfolio. Volunteering in your skill areas will add experience to your resume.
- To feel good about yourself – Hopefully, when you decide to volunteer, it’s not with ulterior, self-serving motives. However, when you sincerely give of yourself to others, it’s amazing how good you start to feel about your own life.
It’s time to do something! Get out there and volunteer.