Ideas for Ongoing Volunteering

My first turn as a volunteer was at the age of seven. My teacher would let me leave class for thirty minutes each day to go to the kindergarten class and read to the kids. From that moment, being a volunteer would become a regular part of my life. Over the years, volunteering provided me with opportunities to learn new skills and meet people who shared my interests. It was easy to find volunteer resources that fit my schedule and my talents. All it took was imagination, research, and dedication.

Searching for Volunteer Resources

Nonprofit organizations often don’t have the resources to market themselves or their need for volunteers. It might take a little effort to find them. VolunteerMatch is a great place to start. It can direct you toward an organization in need of help that matches your interests and talents.

Organizations are often in need of volunteers who can commit to helping a few times per week. Being a regular volunteer is a great way to open up more opportunities, whether they be networking or just making the most impact that you can. Regularly volunteering does require more commitment, but it can be more rewarding as you develop a closer relationship with people at the organization.

Where Should I Look?

Animals in shelters need to be cared for while they wait for a new forever family. There are numerous ways to assist shelters. You can walk dogs for an hour or two daily or go in once or twice a month to help trim nails, do laundry, and restock shelves. Call your local shelter, or use the local chapter of the Animal Humane Society as a resource.

If you’re the more creative type, community theaters always need sets constructed or ushers to get people to their seats. Every production needs someone to help create and circulate posters or fliers to get the word out about the show. The American Association of Community Theatre is a great online source to look for ways to help out.

Many museums, such as the National History Museum in Los Angeles, welcome volunteers to greet guests or work as an instructor. Helping out at an educational institute can give you a chance to learn new skills and meet new people.

When you’re volunteering to help the more vulnerable, such as children or the very ill, there may be a certain amount of training required, and the application process could include a background check. There may also be a requirement to volunteer for several hours before participating in more highly sensitive or skilled positions.

Whatever it is that you want to offer and however you wish to do so, just remember that you don’t have to be an expert. The simplest gestures can go a long way and be a big help to a group or organization in need. Volunteers are their greatest resources, and there can never be too many.

Image source: Flickr

By: Crystal B. Shepeard