Do you have a desire to help others? Do you feel called to volunteer and make a difference? Would you like to learn how to find the right volunteer opportunity?
Do you want to know how to volunteer all year, not only around the holidays?
Sharing Life and Love started out of a calling for volunteerism and aiding others. Their passion brings awareness to charities and ways to help those less fortunate.
But you may wonder how you can find the right volunteer opportunity.
Almost any volunteer can share a time they did not enjoy or a job they were ill-equipped to do. A negative experience can cause a potentially life-long volunteer to abandon the ministry.
How can you prevent this from being you? How can you find the aspect of volunteerism or the charity that fits you and your talents like a glove?
In this article, you will find the tools, tips, and suggestions needed to teach you how to volunteer all year. You will gather insight to help you find the right volunteer opportunity. This opportunity will suit your talents, hobbies, and personality.
This article will teach you how to fit volunteering into your already busy schedule. You can also learn to teach your children the values of volunteering, keep it all organized, and so much more!
Whether you want to impact your local community or build a legacy, you can reach your full potential! You can change lives!
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)
Table of Contents
Am I Doing Enough?
Do you ever wonder if you are doing enough? There are so many needs in the world today. How does one judge whether their contribution is enough?
The best way to discern if you are doing enough is to base the scale on what you can give. Your life, family, and schedule are not the same as anyone else’s. You should never feel guilted into volunteering or aiding the less fortunate.
It is easy to get lost in the idea of being the best volunteer. You can become overburdened and bogged down. Your volunteer commitments should never become more than what you can joyfully give.
Sometimes, you may feel like you give and give, and no one appreciates it. It can seem as if you just aren’t making a difference. But you are!
There are so many needs globally, from hunger to homelessness. There are environmental causes and animal rights, too. Often it may seem like your contribution is so minimal, and you might wonder if it’s even worth it.
Every major movement started with a seed planted. Every changed life is because someone decided to do something – anything. The time, money, love, and other resources that you donate will change lives!
Tips for Balancing Volunteer Commitments
- Always make time for yourself and your family. Do not become overburdened or cram your schedule where you become drained. It’s okay to say NO!
- Find charities or causes that you are passionate about!
- Check out this amazing book of affirmations just for volunteers: 101 Affirmations for Volunteers can help you stay passionate all the time!
- Use your own talents!
- Keep a journal or a planner to stay organized!
- Get real and talk with the people you are helping! Their stories will inspire you!
- Do NOT expect everyone to appreciate you. Find your worth in the Lord!
- Have fun!
And if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. – Isaiah 58:10 (NIV)
Why Get Involved As a Volunteer?
You might be wondering why you should get involved as a volunteer. Perhaps you want to know what’s in it for you. You may think of weighing the positives and negatives.
It is completely natural to consider whether volunteering is a good way to spend your time. You might even think that there is no reason to invest your time when you have already given money. All these thoughts are understandable.
Any help provided to those less fortunate is admirable. However, there is something special about doing volunteer work. It is spiritually rewarding to take from your own time and talents and bless others.
You may think that nothing is to be gained from being a volunteer, but you would be wrong. There are many benefits for you and your family!
Let’s look at a few reasons you should get involved as a volunteer!
#1. Volunteering Connects You with Others.
Social connection is important if there is anything we have learned in the past couple of years. Connecting with other people improves our mental and emotional well-being.
You help make the place you live in better by connecting with your community! Small tasks such as feeding animals, reading to the elderly, or picking up trash can impact those in need.
You can benefit by making new friends and expanding your network. If you have a business, you can meet new people who can also become customers!
If you are new to an area, volunteering is a great way to reach out and connect. You can get to know the community and find new interests.
You can meet like-minded people who enjoy similar activities to you through volunteering. Whether you are shy or out-going, volunteering will increase your network. You may even gain a life-long friend.
#2. Volunteering Can Help Your Career.
Volunteers are 27% more likely to find employment after unemployment than those who do not volunteer.
Volunteering can help you advance in your current career planning or dig into a new career path. It can also help to secure stable employment. Volunteering helps you learn practical skills such as teamwork, organization, and project planning.
Some volunteer roles even provide extensive training. You could receive training as a counselor through volunteering at a shelter or recovery program. At the same time, other volunteer gigs might help you build on your professional skills.
Volunteer opportunities can help you gain experience. If nursing interests you, try volunteering at a hospital or nursing home.
Perhaps you are considering becoming a teacher. You can offer your time at a nursery school or after-school program.
#3. Volunteering Improves Mental and Emotional Well-being.
Studies have shown that volunteering can lower depression and increase well-being. Through volunteering, you positively connect with others. You add value to a community or organization and make a genuine difference.
Volunteering also encourages positive thinking. By pushing yourself into action, you break the cycle of negative thinking. This, in turn, changes your focus as well!
By focusing your energy outward, you have less time to dwell inward.
You will also find yourself seeing things differently. You might realize the difficulties that others face. Realizing and understanding the hardships of others can aid you in appreciating your life more.
There is a definite connection between our minds and bodies. Your mental state can positively or negatively affect your physical well-being. One study even showed that volunteers over 50 were less likely to develop high blood pressure.
#4. Volunteering Boosts Confidence and Self-esteem.
Your confidence and self-esteem can grow exponentially through volunteering. We can all benefit from a little bit of positive recognition.
Since volunteering can teach you new skills and improve old ones, you will be more confident in your abilities. You will naturally feel better about yourself as you serve others and find your true worth.
Serving others and your community gives you a sense of accomplishment. As you feel better about yourself, you will be more optimistic about your circumstances and future.
Volunteering can give you motivation, passion, creativity, and a renewed sense of intent. These amazing benefits can flow into both your professional and private life.
You will also find that you will grow as a person as you put yourself into more trying situations. You can try new things through volunteering. You will meet new people and have new experiences. Each circumstance you face and overcome is an opportunity to grow!
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. – Proverbs 11:25 (ESV)
Why Is Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity Important?
By now, you should have a solid understanding of the personal benefits of volunteering. While volunteerism is truly about giving, there is personal gain as well. The balance between giving back and personal gain is vital.
This makes finding the right volunteer opportunity just as important.
While popping down to your local animal shelter may seem like a quick and easy way to give back, it may not be the ideal situation for you.
No act of volunteerism is bad. Giving back is always admirable. You want to make sure that you and the organization you volunteer for are getting the most from your service!
You may be excited and ready to jump in. Let’s look at a few reasons why finding the right volunteer opportunity is so important!
#1. The Right Opportunity Will Help You Avoid Burning Out.
There are volunteering opportunities that you can do in your free time. Other opportunities may require a large commitment on your part.
Finding the right volunteer opportunity will help you to avoid feeling burned out.
Imagine you become involved in an organization you are passionate about. You start making friends and love what you are doing, only later to find out that the commitment they need from you pushes your time limits. You are faced with the dilemma of either stretching yourself too thin or walking away from something you truly enjoy.
By taking the time to determine the factors that decide a good opportunity, you can avoid such situations.
Do you know a volunteer who goes above and beyond? Consider an adorable gift to show your appreciation! Positive affirmation can make a difference in preventing burnout!
#2. The Right Opportunity Will Use Your Skills.
It is very important to consider opportunities in which you can use skills you already have.
There are volunteer opportunities that offer training and the chance to develop new skills. It is better if you can offer something in return!
You do not want to get into a situation where you have offered time and skills that you do not have. You also do not want to take on responsibilities that you cannot complete.
The right volunteer opportunity will utilize the skills you have and grow them. If you do not take the time to research opportunities available, you will not know if you are a good fit.
#3. The Right Opportunity Will Empower You.
You read that right! It is a matter of personal gain here. And that is ok!
By finding the right volunteer opportunity, you will not only feel empowered but confident, too!
The volunteer opportunity that fits you best will boost you. A bad volunteering match will leave you feeling drained and doubtful. You might even start to question whether volunteering is for you!
Taking the time to find a good match will avoid you feeling negative towards your volunteering commitments. In fact, it will probably have the opposite effect. You might end up craving it!
#4. The Right Opportunity Will Ensure Everyone Benefits.
The best part about finding the right volunteer opportunity is that the process will ensure everyone benefits.
Each time you finish a project, you will know that the organization and the people it serves have gained something from your time!
Volunteering should never be a checkmark on a list of things you think you should be doing. It must come from a place of passion and love and care. By taking the time to find the right opportunity, you will be helping everyone involved!
Regardless of your intentions, the wrong opportunity can hinder the organization.
The wrong opportunity can drain your skills and resources. It can also have negative repercussions on those you intend to help!
Take the time to learn how to find the right volunteer opportunity. Ensure that everyone walks away a little better because of you!
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
How to Find the Right Volunteer Opportunity
A variety of aspects will determine the type of volunteer opportunity you choose. Factors such as your volunteer experience, social skills, career experience, and physical health can greatly affect your choices.
Finding the perfect volunteer opportunity directly affects your success! Skilled volunteers will admit that you may not get it right the first time! Do not let this discourage you!
Take the time to consider each aspect before committing to a volunteering project. There is a wide range of options available. As you come to understand more of what volunteers do, you will see the opportunities around you!
This section will find you the ideal volunteer opportunity step by step!
#1. Determine Why You Wish to Volunteer.
When looking for a volunteer opportunity, the first thing you must consider is why!
There may be basic answers at first. You might feel a desire to make a difference. Maybe you want to repay a community that has helped you.
Sometimes a person feels driven to aid in addiction services after losing a loved one to addiction. Other times, having lost a loved one to an illness will be what encouraged you!
There are no right or wrong answers here! Volunteers offer a very precious resource, their valuable time! Ask yourself if you want to make a positive impact, a social impact, or both?
Whether you plan to improve skills, have fun, make new friends, or explore a new career, being honest about your motives can go a long way in finding the right volunteer opportunity.
#2. Determine Your Passion.
When looking for a volunteer project, you need to consider your passion! What inspires you?
Is there a cause you are interested in? Is there a particular group of people you desire to help? The organization you choose should be involved in something you feel strongly about.
You will also want to consider if you wish to work with people or animals? Children or adults? Do you have a passion for protecting the environment?
Start by asking yourself a few key questions.
- Is there something you want to change or improve?
- Is there a cause you would like to bring awareness to?
- What are your hobbies?
- Is there a certain group you feel strongly connected to?
- What brings you joy?
#3. Determine Your Skill Set.
When considering the types of volunteer opportunities, you need to determine your skill set. Most of us have a wide range of skills if we simply take the time to consider them!
A volunteer organization that works for disaster relief will have a specific set of required skills such as construction or knowledge in electrical wiring. You can offer your services pro-bono.
They may also need to provide assistance to disaster survivors via accommodation, food, and counseling!
Ask yourself the following when determining your skills.
- Do you have training in a particular field?
- Do you have experience in an area?
- What do you feel is your greatest skill?
- Is there anything you are exceptionally good at?
- What traits have family and friends pointed out to you?
#4. Determine Your Limitations.
Finding the right volunteer opportunity step four focuses on what you cannot or are unwilling to do.
This step is vital, and you must be honest. A volunteer position that requires time you cannot give, physical work you cannot do or goes against your morals is not a good fit!
You need to consider various circumstances when considering this topic.
- Are you willing to go on a volunteer trip? If so, how far are you willing to travel?
- What physical activities do you enjoy doing? What physical activities are you incapable of doing?
- Do you have any chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes to consider? How do these limit you?
- What type of time commitment are you willing to make? How much time can you realistically offer?
- Are there causes you will not feel comfortable supporting due to religious or cultural views?
- Do you have any mental or emotional triggers that you wish to avoid?
If an organization’s mission statement and values do not align with yours, this is a clear indication that you are not a good fit! Always be clear about your limitations when considering the type of opportunity you will seek.
#5. Determine Your Area.
Once you have determined why you wish to volunteer, your passions and skills, and key factors such as your available time commitment and physical limitations, you are ready for step five!
Step five is about determining where you wish to volunteer. You can volunteer within your community, city, state, or as a virtual volunteer! There are so many ways to help others without even leaving your home!
Volunteer Match is a great place to start! This website is dedicated to helping students, adults, and children find volunteer positions. They believe anyone can make a difference in people’s lives!
Volunteer Match has a massive database of volunteer opportunities to help you make a real difference. You can begin by going to the find opportunities search!
Here you can search either by location, zip code or by searching virtual volunteering. When deciding the area you wish to volunteer in, ask yourself the following questions.
- Are you willing to travel outside of your local communities?
- If so, how far? To a different city? To a different state?
- Do you wish to only volunteer from home?
- Are you interested in national and community service projects? Or would you prefer to stay local?
- Do you wish to work for international organizations such as the Peace Corps, the American Red Cross, or United Way?
#6. Determine Your Cause.
Step six is a lot of fun! You are now going to start researching volunteer opportunities that match your personality!
Researching your volunteer opportunity is highly important. The more specific you are in what you want, the more likely you are to succeed.
You can start on VolunteerMatch by filtering causes you are passionate about and skills you can offer! You can further filter options such as age groups and distance from you.
Other ways to find opportunities can include:
- Word of Mouth – speak with friends, family, and co-workers about causes they know of.
- Contact local nonprofit organizations – Not all charities and nonprofits can advertise. Contact local homeless shelters or animal rescue shelters and ask how you can help out!
- Find out if your place of employment offers a volunteer program or partners with any volunteer projects.
- Newspapers and community boards – Keep an eye on community boards and newspapers to learn about local needs. You can also contact local community centers and ask to speak to the volunteer coordinator.
- Contact community leaders – You can also take the time to contact prominent community leaders. Pastors may know of religious organizations needing help. Political figures may also know of volunteer activities within the community.
- Sign-up to receive 4-H volunteering and mentoring updates.
Still not finding what you are looking for? Check out this list of 20 volunteer websites!
Write yourself a checklist answering the topics below to use when you start searching.
- My reasons for volunteering are
- My goals for volunteering are
- The causes I want to be involved in are
- The skills I can offer are
- The skills I wish to improve or learn are
- I want to volunteer in the following areas
Make a Difference: America’s Guide to Volunteering and Community Service not only lists more than 185 national, nonprofit organizations but it will inspire you to get involved!
#7. Determine If the Cause is a Good Fit.
Before jumping in feet first, it is good to interview the cause you are interested in. You can start by obtaining contact details for the organization.
You can email, phone, or schedule an in-person interview.
Research the cause or charity online first. Read as much information as you can and visit their website and social media accounts. Create a list of questions that you cannot find answers to online.
Always address the organization professionally and courteously. You do not want to come across as demanding or difficult before starting! Be adamant that you want to ensure that you both are a good fit before committing.
Remember to ask what the organization’s needs are! Do not just express your wishes! Find out what is required from you, the organization’s priorities, and how it operates.
#8. Determine If It Will Stick.
There is no need for you to make a long-term commitment up front! Take baby steps at first. Test the waters!
Consider starting at the community level before joining a national or international organization. Find out if this particular cause is a good fit without making a major commitment!
It is okay if an opportunity is not what you imagined. It is also okay if you misjudge your skills or availability. Volunteers around the world will admit to a few missteps in the beginning.
Offer to volunteer short-term or ask if you can tag along at an event to get a feel for things.
If you find that a particular charity or organization does not fit you, thank them for the opportunity and wish them success! Learning to say no is one of the best skills you can develop when searching for the right volunteer opportunity!
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12 (NIV)
The Big List of Volunteer Ideas
- Start a community garden.
- Join a community choir.
- Volunteer for community clean-up projects.
- Combine volunteering and mentoring with your skillset, such as mentoring college students to enter the job force.
- Volunteer during natural disasters and other disasters in your area.
- Sign up with disaster services for updates on active disaster programs.
- Shop for good by shopping through Amazon Smile.
- Volunteer for animal welfare.
- Start an animal protection project.
- Start a community service in career guidance for the unemployed.
- Offer to tutor students.
- Get involved with Habitat for Humanity.
- Get involved with United Health.
- Offer event planning services to local charities and nonprofit organizations.
- Put your career to use. If you have a career in marketing, offer to help with a social media strategy. If you are an electrician, offer services to the unemployed!
- Volunteer at senior centers.
- Become a caregiver.
- Teach someone a craft that can turn profitable such as sewing, baking, or proofreading.
- Collect goods for the homeless. Check out this great 20-Piece Winter Homeless Survival Kit!
- Write inspiring letters.
- Knit hats or blankets. This 87-Piece Crochet Kit has everything you need to start a new hobby!
- Promote a cause online.
- Volunteer at a library.
- Save energy and promote ways others can too.
- Start a community recycling project.
- Coach a children’s sports team.
- Get a haircut and donate it!
- Write to your local congress about environmental issues.
- Donate blood.
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen.
How Do I Volunteer With Little Time?
You do not need to make volunteerism a full-time job. You should find opportunities that fit into your schedule. Small tasks such as writing letters to people in jail or knitting hats are things you can do when you have time available. Consider finding a flexible opportunity.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Volunteering?
Volunteering may not always provide you with the pat on the back you are looking for. Not everyone you will serve will appreciate what you do. There will also be difficult people in charge at times. You might even come across someone you feel hates you. Learn more about praying for someone who hates you to aid you in these situations.
How Do You Ask For An Opportunity To Volunteer?
You should first take the time to find out who is in charge of the volunteer program and how to contact them. You can either phone, send an email, or schedule to see them in person. Always professionally present yourself. Do not take any “no” personally. Simply inquire why and try again.
How Can I Volunteer During COVID?
Many organizations are still accepting in-person volunteers. There are many other opportunities where you can volunteer from home. You can crochet bears for sick children, write letters, or create care packages for the homeless population. Some hospitals accept donations, while many second-hand stores could benefit if you chose to declutter!
What Is A Good Amount Of Time To Volunteer?
A good amount of time to volunteer is what you can realistically offer. No organization is going to benefit from you being stretched thin and exhausted. Some volunteers offer an hour a week, while others have made it a full-time job. Consider your schedule and volunteer time that is reasonable for you!
You should now have a strong idea of why you should volunteer. Follow the simple steps on how to find the right volunteer opportunity!
This article has covered the benefits of volunteering for you and your community! It has also explained why finding the right opportunity is vital to your success.
If you were unsure whether you would make a good volunteer, I hope you are now encouraged by how excellent you can be! There is a volunteer gig that fits you, your schedule, and your talents!
Do you have a special charity or organization that you would like to see featured? Let us know in the comments about them! We LOVE getting to know and sharing new opportunities!
Stop by the Shop to get your copy of the My Volunteer Binder! This planner has everything you need to make your volunteering hobby a success! From calendars to checklists, this volunteer printable has it all!
Take a moment and share this article on social media! Your friends and family will thrive with the chance to become the best volunteers they can be!