Volunteering: Is it Your Turn to Give Back to the World?by Mary on January 29th, 2017
It’s one of those things many of us think about, but may need a nudge to follow through on: volunteering. You may be at a point in life where you have the time, so think about putting yourself out there and giving back. There are plenty of organizations that could use your help, and volunteering is good for your heart and mind.
To try on the idea, go online and search on websites that keep a registry of volunteer needs. United Way has a search engine that’s based on your zip code and also lists positions that need to be filled around the world. VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org are also good places to start.
Not sure what kind of volunteer work you want to do? There are several categories to consider.
Chances are you’ll have no trouble finding an organization that needs help with positions like receptionist, general office work and even researcher. If you enjoy working in an office setting, administrative volunteering is probably a good choice.
If you have experience and talent in areas like writing fundraising appeals or thank you notes, designing and photography, you’d be a good catch for the right organization. Non-profits often fundraise and need help with promotion and public relations.
This category covers everything from music to drama to arts and crafts. For example, you can be an usher or maybe even build sets for local productions, work on a project to get supplies or to promote the arts in your community, or play a musical instrument at retirement homes.
Volunteering to work with kids can be especially rewarding. Whether you tutor, coach, supervise, or assist in the classroom, your most important work will be as a positive role model. Find opportunities with Boys and Girls Club of America and the YMCA, two of the nation’s largest providers of after school programs. Pick a position that lets you interact with the youthful age group you particularly enjoy.
If you have a special knack for being there for someone who is emotionally distressed, or for being someone’s sorely needed friend or advisor, this kind of work is meant for you. Explore volunteering for a crisis hotline. If you have a counseling background, great. But there is room for those who just know how to listen, encourage and understand.
Hospital volunteering has come a long way from the days of candy stripers. Volunteers can play a vital role in providing a calm, friendly presence for patients. If you have a well-trained dog, you can get certified to be part of the pet therapy program. An animal visitor can reduce the stress of a hospital stay and can be a treat for the dog too!