Hello, readers! Hope you’ve been having a normal, safe Friday the 13th! Any stories of bad luck you’d like to share? Personally, I had an interview scheduled for today that I’ve been sweating over, but luckily it went well! I did leave my cell phone at home all day, but that’s the extent of my bad luck.
So on to our topic: Are you looking to lend your time and skills to someone in need, but have no idea how to go about it? Yesterday I began a series of posts on how to find a volunteer position with ease, and today is the second post out of four of that series. If you missed the previous post, you can take a look at it here.
I reorganized what posts will be featured when and what those posts will contain. I figured this would be a more organized and clear way to present it. You can view it at the bottom of any post in this series.
Now, onto the good stuff:
The first step to finding an organization or business that needs your help is to take note of your skill set and interests. Just keep in mind everything you are good at and everything you like – everything! Be it web designing, playing video games, winning at chess, playing baseball, writing poetry, drawing, or even gardening. You’ll be surprised at how many volunteer opportunities match even the most obscure skills and interests. Keeping these in mind will help you to weed out volunteer positions you most likely would not enjoy.
Just an example of a few skill sets or interests that may match opportunities:
- If you like gardening you could help clean up a local park
- If you’re an avid blogger you could write guest blogs for other bloggers stretched for time
- An interest in crafts can help you in a position to make holiday cards for those who need a pick-me-up
For most entry level volunteer positions (and there are a lot of them), skills are never really needed. You don’t need knowledge of building an entire house to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity!
After you realize your interests and your skill sets, try listing some general types of organizations or jobs you know of that could potentially match those interests. For example: if you have excellent teaching skills, some day care centers, libraries, and schools look for volunteer tutors to help out their students. This list will help you later when finding actual organizations and places in your area.
The second step is to realize what you, at your age, are capable of contributing! Many volunteer seekers specify the age range in which they are looking for help, but there’s always an opportunity for everyone somewhere.
- For children, I’ve seen opportunities to decorate Easter eggs for Easter, create candy bags for other children, and even donate their old toys to those who may not receive many Christmas presents.
- For teens there are plenty of opportunities. They can join in relays to fund research, work at concession stands, feed the homeless, clean up local parks, and even design websites and publications with the right knowledge.
- For adults the opportunities are endless. Adults can volunteer for most entry level volunteer positions and even land higher-up volunteer positions such as administrator or volunteer coordinator for certain organizations. Those 18 and older can work at local hospices to help improve the lives of those with terminally ill patients, prep and cook Thanksgiving meals to serve the homeless, and even become a friend to the elderly by visiting them in their homes, doing a grocery run, and more.
- Of course, there are opportunities for whole groups and families as well. Most opportunities are open to large groups and the sheer number of people helping will put a smile on anyone’s face.
Now that we’ve got some of the preliminary preparations done and over with, you’re ready to delve into the search with the basic knowledge you need to find the right opportunity for you.
Tomorrow’s post will get more in depth and help you to figure out whether you want a local or virtual opportunity and I’ll post a huge list of helpful, quality resources and websites you can use that have been helpful for me in my own search. Come back tomorrow for more!
Make Your Mark on The World series:
- Introduction: How to Start Volunteering Now!
- Beginning Your Search: Matching Your Interests << You’re here
- Where to Find Them? Local or Virtual?
- Items You May Need
- Other Information
I’ll be sure to link to each in the series as they are posted! Check back this week for more!
Also: If you have any questions or suggestions about volunteering or what to add to this series, feel free to comment. I’m looking to find all the information I can! Thanks a lot!