Tips To Help You Get Started Volunteering

Research the causes or issues important to you...

Look for a group that works with issues about which you feel strongly. There is no end to the creative avenues for volunteering, just as there is no end to the need for volunteers.

Consider the skills you have to offer...

If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for volunteer work that would incorporate these aspects of your personality. This sort of position allows you to jump right into the work without having to take training to prepare for the assignment.

Would you like to learn something new?

Perhaps you would like to learn a new skill or gain exposure to a new situation. Many nonprofits seek out people who are willing to learn. Realize beforehand, however, that such work might require a time commitment for training before the actual volunteer assignment begins.

Don't over-commit your schedule...

Make sure the volunteer hours you want to give fit into your hectic life, so that you don't frustrate your family, exhaust yourself, shortchange the organization you're trying to help or neglect your job. Better to start out slowly than to commit yourself to a schedule you can't or don't want to fulfill.

Nonprofits may have questions, too...

While most nonprofits are eager to find volunteer help, they have to be careful when accepting the services you offer. If you contact an organization with an offer to volunteer your time, you may be asked to come in for an interview, fill out a volunteer application, or describe your qualifications and your background. Consider volunteering as a family. Think about looking for a volunteer opportunity suitable for parents and children to do together, or for a husband and wife to take on as a team.

Virtual volunteering?

If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organizations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work over the computer. This might take the form of giving free legal advice, typing a college term paper for a person with a disability, or simply keeping in contact with a shut-in who has e-mail.

I never thought of that!

Many community groups are looking for volunteers, and some may not have occurred to you. Here are some volunteer opportunities that may not have crossed your mind:

- Museums, Art Galleries, and Monuments
- Neighborhood Parks, Youth Organizations, Sports Teams, and after-school programs, Faith & Community               Based Groups and Organizations, Shelters for Battered Women and Children, Prisons
- Historical Restorations, Battlefields and National Parks

Give voice to your heart through your giving and volunteering!

Bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with your enthusiastic spirit, which in itself is a priceless gift. What you'll get back will be immeasurable!

For more information on how you can volunteer today, go to:
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“Sometimes, the hardest part of volunteering
can be finding an opportunity that fits your           personality.  Below are some great tips to help
you get involved, and to make your volunteer
experience a more enjoyable and rewarding one”

* All tips are courtesy of the Points of Light Network & Volunteer Center National Network
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designed to produce a "Sustainable" revenue stream for its
Community Partners, while providing savings to their members on
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