Here are some quick tips on choosing volunteer work that’s fun and rewarding.
Network. Ask friends, family, teachers, and others where they’ve volunteered in the past, and what the experience was like. Ask about the pros and cons of their volunteer work. There are tons of opportunities to make a difference from saving shelter animals to feeding the hungry to protecting the environment.
Choose something close to your heart. Think about what type of issues are important to you. Volunteering can be hard work, so be sure to find an organization you care about. The work will be that much more rewarding because of it!
Do research online. Check out sites like Volunteer Match to read about all kinds of volunteer jobs in your area. Before you sign on to volunteer, do some additional research on sites like Yelp, Charity Watch, or GuideStar to read reviews and learn more about the organization’s mission, programs, finances, and more. This is also a helpful way to ensure that you’re volunteering for a legitimate charity.
Consider the time commitment. Before signing up as a volunteer, ask the volunteer coordinator how much time they require of volunteers and what activities you’ll be asked to do. Also, find out if there’s a volunteer orientation or training. Many charities will invite potential volunteers to an orientation session before they ask them to commit to becoming a volunteer.
Build your skillset. Think about ways you can volunteer that will also build your resume. If you’re going to school to become a graphic designer, for example, you’ll benefit from volunteering for an organization that can use your design skills. This way, you’ll build up experience to add to your resume and you’ll have design materials to add to your portfolio when it comes time to look for a job.