While it can be invigorating to volunteer overseas, getting involved at home is just as important. Volunteer work is more than a story or a line on a resume – it’s an essential part of a functioning society.
But choosing where to focus your time and talents can be difficult. According to the National Center for charitable Statistics, more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the U.S.
Volunteers are an incredibly important resource, without which, many charitable organizations would not be able to conduct programs, raise funds, or serve clients.
How to get involved
First, it’s important to consider your personal values and interests. Next, research organizations that are doing the type of work you’re interested in. Volunteer Match and Idealist are great online search resources. Then, it’s okay to reach out directly to someone who works at the organization to learn more. They can share about the day-to-day work and any upcoming volunteer opportunities. You can even go visit their offices!
Also, it’s important to know what is expected. Understand the time commitment. Ask questions to ensure the experience fits your goals, skills, and available time.
Finally, enjoy yourself! Volunteering can be a great way to get outside yourself and focus on the greater good.
Ways to volunteers
If you’re a doctor or a nurse, you could volunteer your time and expertise at your local free clinic. If you’re non-medical you could help with educating the public about health and safety issues, answering phones or hotlines, or delivering meals to seniors. You could also be a greeter at a local hospital.
Other ways to get involved could be anything from: donating blood, becoming a mentor, adopting a neighbor, organizing a clean-up, serving at a food bank, visiting the elderly, getting your employer involved, volunteering at your local shelter or local animal shelter — just to name a few.
Volunteering doesn’t just offer essential help to worthwhile causes, people in need, and the wider community, but it actively helps connect you to others – and the world. It’s important to get involved at home!