Ten Tips For Service/Volunteering

1. Think of Your Hobbies and Interests

English: Great seal of the state of Rhode Isla...

English: Great seal of the state of Rhode Island Français : Sceau du Rhode Island (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before jumping into a life of service or volunteering it is important to think of what interests you. What are the things that you do during your free time? What are things you like to learn about? Answering questions like these will greatly inform where or what you choose to do as a volunteer.

2. Be Flexible

Not everything always goes according to plan. Cliché? Yes, but true. When things do not go they expected way it is important to be flexible. The work you do as a volunteer is valuable, but mistakes and oversights do occur. When you are involved in something going awry it is important to breath, be flexible, and trust that the group or organization that you are volunteering for will know how to appropriately respond to the situation.

3. Try New Things

If you are not sure where you want to volunteer, or just want a change of scenery, volunteering can be an incredible way to try something different. Going to various volunteer events can provide a great change of pace and quite possibly lead to a new hobby or passion.

4. Know Your Schedule / Time Management

Although some times of day are more popular to volunteer, organizations can often use volunteers at any time. So, you should find a volunteer opportunity that fits your schedule based on your availability. Knowing your schedule will allow you to pinpoint an organization or opportunity more easily, as some organization want individuals that can volunteer on a consistent basis while others are more flexible. Your availability essentially dictates how you will commit to volunteering.

5. Know Your Area

A lot of the volunteering that you may want to get involved in likely exists right inside or just outside of your own community. If you see things in your own community that you want to improve, it is possible a group or organization already exists that has the same goal in mind. However, it sometimes is the case that volunteer opportunities that match your needs, interests, passions, or skills are not near your work or home. As such, you may find a great volunteer opportunity outside of your area, just be cognizant of the time and energy needed to travel to the event.

6. Learn a new Culture

One of greatest things about volunteering is that you will always meet diverse people. It is important to use this to your advantage so that you are able to learn new things about the people around you. Being attuned to the variety of persons in your community allows for a better sense of empathy and a deeper respect for all people. All it takes is a conscious effort to recognize and then appreciate the little differences that make us all human. You may even learn a bit about yourself in the process.

7. Think About How You Socialize

There are endless ways to volunteer, included in them is the ability to choose an opportunity that suits your personality. Whether you prefer to spend time outdoors, readings, writing, in large groups, in small groups, as an individual, etc. There is an opportunity that fits you and because you should fell relaxed when you volunteer you should consider this in your volunteer search. In finding a volunteer event that meets your personality, you will be a better asset to the cause you are serving while getting the most out of your experience as an individual.

8. Ask Around

The best resource for finding information is other people. Your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers can all be great assets in making a good volunteer choice. The added benefit in asking about volunteering from those close to you is that you may have someone share in the volunteer experience.

9. Search The Web

There are a plethora of tools on the Internet that can help you find volunteer opportunities, such as volunteermatch.com or idealist.org. Additionally, by just knowing your interest a simple Google search for “your interest + volunteering” will likely provide you with a good start on the path to finding a fun volunteer opportunity.

10. Just Do It

If all else fails you can always either just ask to volunteer at a location that you think could use assistance or just start up your own project to addresses a need that you see.

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