Here are seven healthy ways to volunteer during your leisure.
LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH YOUR EMPLOYER
If you work for a decent-sized organisation, there’s a good chance your employer has some sort of volunteer programme — either a formal programme featuring organised volunteer days that double as off-site team-building opportunities or a more flexible programme that allows employees to receive paid time off while volunteering with organisations of their choice.
LOOK TO ORGANISATIONS YOU ALREADY GIVE TIME TO
Your routine probably involves organizations that rely on volunteers. If you have school-age kids, you’re familiar with extracurricular school clubs, sports teams and clubs not directly affiliated with your kids’ school, and faith-based youth groups. You may also spend time at your local community center or YMCA.
IDENTIFY YOUR VALUES
What motivates you to give back? Make a list of the values that drive you, or the issues you care about, and then look for organizations with complementary missions and opportunities. For instance, if your primary motivation is to forge social connections with peers, you might look to organisations such as school groups that require interaction with other parents, neighbourhood or homeowners association boards that involve lots of contact with neighbors, or collaborative projects such as Habitat for Humanity builds or litter cleanups.
If you’re motivated to serve the less fortunate, you might target organizations that work with housing-insecure populations, people with disabilities, recent immigrants, or members of historically disadvantaged groups.
IDENTIFY PRESSING NEEDS IN YOUR COMMUNITY OR THE WORLD
Use your values to prioritise the needs you’ve already observed in your community, state, country, or planet.
Distressed by your city’s housing crisis? Volunteer at a homeless shelter or food bank. Overwhelmed by the impact of a natural or human-caused disaster you saw in the news? Reach out to aid organizations and pitch in for the recovery. Dissatisfied with the discourse around a particular political issue? Contribute your time and talents to advocacy organizations or campaigns aligned with your beliefs.
USE A REPUTABLE RESOURCE
Simply Googling “volunteer opportunities in [your hometown]” is not the best way to find high-quality engagements that meet the criteria set out above. It is a great way to expose yourself to lots of questionable “opportunities” and outright scams.
Instead, use reputable online and real-world resources to zero in on suitable, aboveboard community service opportunities.
CONSIDER OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD SKILLS OR CONNECTIONS
You can also try the opposite tack. Most volunteer-reliant nonprofits aren’t picky about who can volunteer. As long as you pass a background check if it’s required, and can commit to showing up when you’re supposed to, organizations looking for volunteers won’t scrutinize your resume or call up professional references (although personal references may be another story). Under the right circumstances, volunteering can stand in for entry-level paid work when none is available and you can’t find suitable paid internships.
TRY TO INVOLVE THE WHOLE FAMILY
Many parents who volunteer turn giving back into a family affair. Community service is a great way to teach kids the value of altruism and underscore the inequities and injustices that permeate modern society. It’s also an opportunity to spend more time with your family.
Culled From: www.moneycrashers.com