As AmeriCorps Alums, we already have that love for service, but how do we go about translating it to our life after our service time is over? Some of us work in the nonprofit community, while others contribute monetary donations or contribute time. Here are some helpful tips for best ways to volunteer. Some of it we learned during our service, but it's a good reminder if you've been out of the volunteering scene for awhile.
1. Why are you Volunteering?
Do you want to learn some new skills sets while helping serve causes you care about? Do you want to share the gifts and skills you already know to better an organization in need? Looking hard at this question can help you figure out the time commitment and nonprofit that will best fit what you are looking for.
2. Find the cause!
It makes sense that working and volunteering with an organization you care about is going to produce your strongest efforts. It's okay if you are unsure of volunteering at a specific agency. Ask the Volunteer Coordinator questions about your role to see if it is a good fit.
3. Start local!
Volunteering local is a great way to get to know your community. You could also make connections to volunteer abroad. If you have a lot of commitments at home, helping locally is the best option. And if you are new to an area, it's a great way to meet people and discover important issues facing your new home.
4. Start small!
As mentioned before, if you have a lot on your plate, it might seem impossible to contribute time. Monetary donations and supplies are always welcome at agencies, but don't give up on the idea of working hands-on. Volunteer Coordinators are always in need of passionate people, and they will work with you and your schedule. One day a week too much? Try just once a month. Turning off the television for a few hours can really clear up your schedule. :)
5. Don't give up!
Don't give up on volunteering if it seems overwhelming. There is a cause and organization out there for you! And remember, even the less interesting positions, such as filing or helping out with administration work, are always appreciated. Find your niche and go for it. Don't be afraid. Ask lots of questions, and you won't know if an organization is right for you until you try it. Nobody will be offended if you decide to stop because it's not the right fit, just remember to be open and honest with the coordinator.
For more helpful tips on ways to volunteer, click this WikiHow link. And stay tuned for ways to get involved in Austin. There's a lot. :)
As a side note: We're looking for VOLUNTEERS to help this Saturday, February 21 at a Science Fair competition. Here's more info. What a great way to get started! And don't forget, you can always join AAA, if you haven't already!