Volunteering and giving back to the community is the key for not only a well-rounded life, but for creating a vibrant and thriving world. Whether you’re passionate about animals, children, education, mental health, elderly, politics, or any other cause, they’re is absolutely a way for you to get involved.
It’s simple, really. You just have to figure out your where you can use your time, talent, or treasure to make the biggest impact on yourself and others.
Okay… so maybe it’s not so simple. But it is manageable! There are thousands of nonprofit organizations around the world just waiting for people to lend a hand. If you’re interested in getting started, we’ll help break it down:
Volunteer Networks - there are networks and organization set-up that partner with a variety of agencies to help pair community members with volunteering opportunities. United Way and Points of Light are both great resources to help point you in the right direction.
Participate in a Global Service Day: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Global Youth Service Day, Make a Difference Day, and Family Volunteer Day are four of the most popular days dedicated to hands-on volunteering in local communities.
Join one of Your Community Based Service Days: Check with your local organizations or Chamber of Commerce and see if there are opportunities for days of service. Earth Day, Arbor Day, and #GivingTuesday are usually some good options.
Now that we have some starting points, let’s talk briefly about two of the most common myths when it comes to volunteering:
I DON’T HAVE THE TIME
--> Truth: You make time for what’s important to you. Many organizations depend on volunteers to help them succeed so they’re flexible in their schedules and how those volunteer opportunities are structured. If you’re serious about wanting to get involved, schedule something as a family, make it a date night, talk to your employer about potential volunteering programs. More and more companies are giving their employees paid time-off to give back! Take advantage of it.
I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING TO CONTRIBUTE
--> Truth: These causes need help in a variety of ways. You can use the talents you already have to make a difference! Date entry, social media content creation, marketing, serving on a board, event hosting and planning… What do you do every day? Could a worthy cause use some of that?
You don’t have to grow crazy and quit your job, sell all your worldly possessions, and start devoting 100% of your time helping others. I just beg that you’ll do SOMETHING.
Start small and joining a one-time volunteering event. Look at your passions and ask “What can I do to help?”. Reach out to your local United Way or Volunteer Center and see if they can help find you volunteer opportunities based on special causes or skills you possess. Find a friend and volunteer together.
It's not enough to look at a problem in your community and hope, wish, or pray it gets better. We need to get off our hineys and Get. Stuff. Done. End child abuse and neglect, help a homeless person, volunteer at an animal shelter, whatever you’re interested in find a cause and get busy.
BONUS TIP: Real talk - be cautious when thinking about starting a non-profit. Make sure you do your research and see what’s already out there. Can you partner with someone to make an impact? No need to reinvent the wheel, right? I see so many people have huge hearts and the desire to serve others so they jump into starting a nonprofit just to discover someone is already doing something similar in the same community.