Guide To Volunteering

Reasons for Volunteering

Volunteering is about connecting with your community and involves giving time, talent and energy without monetary compensation. People volunteer for a variety of reasons, often just to help someone else, but also to practice or gain new skills, network, learn about cultural differences or simply share what they love, be it teaching, cooking, coaching or sowing seeds. Whatever your reasons for volunteering the experience should benefit the community and be rewarding and fun for the volunteer.

Benefits of Volunteering

Communities benefit where trees are planted, weeds eradicated, meals served, children tutored, roadsides cleaned, houses built and wildlife preserved.

Volunteers benefit when they have an opportunity to try something new, develop a hidden talent or discover a sleeping passion. Additionally, volunteerism can provide a networking or resume-building experience and even boost career options as new areas of interest and insights emerge. Studies show that 94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills benefited by: getting their first job, improving their salary or being promoted while finding new interests and hobbies, life experiences, meeting a diversity of people and obtaining better work-life balance.

Read additional articles about the benefits of volunteering.

What Kind of Volunteering is Right For You?

Ask yourself: What causes do I care about most? Do I want to work with older adults, children, animals or the environment? What kind of volunteer environment do I want? What skills and abilities can I offer? Or, take an online personality quiz such as the one linked below to find out which type of volunteering is right for you.

Determine your level of commitment. Volunteers are needed for all kinds of projects, from done-in-a-day, often called episodic volunteering, virtual volunteering online or for a long-term commitment such as mentoring.

Read additional questions to ask yourself before volunteering.

Consider Your Options

You can volunteer alone or with your family, invite a friend or a group of friends. Volunteering with a group is a great way to tackle larger tasks while spending quality time together serving others. It also provides a chance to develop or improve your planning skills. Or consider taking a family volunteering vacation, which all but guarantees a once-in-a-lifetime family experience.

Read about the variety and types of volunteering in the Volunteer Management Resources Library.

What to Expect When You Volunteer

Understand the requirements and limitations of non-profit organizations. Some require an application or interview and some may require a background check. Organizations should check your qualifications and ability to perform the task and whether your interests match their needs. Make sure your schedules are compatible.

Make sure your objectives are aligned with those of the organization and that your volunteerism reflects and supports your passion, commitment, dedication and interests. Remember to give a voice to your heart through your giving and volunteering.

Volunteers have rights too, so check out the Bill of Volunteer Rights and Responsibilities. Always feel comfortable taking questions or concerns to the volunteer program manager. Read about your employment rights as a volunteer.

Be a Wise Volunteer

Volunteers help mitigate human, social and environmental issues and develop bridges of understanding within communities. Simply do what you can, love what you do and you will make a difference.

Where Can I Find a Volunteer Opportunity?

Find opportunities to volunteer!