Volunteering - Help Others (& Yourself, Too)
Finding time to volunteer can be a challenge when we have so many things demanding our attention. If you're looking for a job, you may think that your time would be better spent on job search activities than volunteering. Not so fast! If you put some thought into choosing your volunteer activities, you could parlay them into job opportunties. Let's first look at some benefits that volunteering has for jobseekers, then look at how to find a suitable place to lend a hand.
Where to volunteer
Look online for websites that identify volunteer centers or list volunteer opportunities. Some examples:
You can also look for volunteer opportunities more locally at:
- community theaters, museums, and monuments
- libraries or senior centers
- service organizations such as Lions or Rotary clubs
- youth organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs
- sports teams and after-school programs
- historical restorations and national parks
- places of worship such as churches or synagogues.
The time you are donating is valuable! Be sure that your volunteering experience is something you enjoy and benefit from. Before enlisting with any volunteer organization, make sure you know what they expect from you.
- Who is your coordinator, and how and when you can call them?
- Who will you be working with?
- Is any training provided?
- What kind of time commitment is expected? Better to start and not over-promise at first.
Ask questions to ensure both you and the organization have the same understanding of expectations - and then keep the lines of communication open during your association. If problems arise, speak up and resolve them promptly.
Most importantly, make sure you're enjoying yourself. The best volunteer experiences benefit both you (the volunteer) and the organization.