How to Volunteer for a Good Cause

Volunteers can be found in wide variety of social service organizations such as  nursing homes, health care agencies, environmental groups, and private agencies that offer numerous services.  Volunteers can sometimes be the backbone of agencies. There are many agencies that have a few “paid” workers, while the majority of the workers are volunteers. Old health care agencies, i.e. nursing homes, strive for volunteers because many facilities are understaffed for the amount of workers they have per resident.

So many people volunteer because volunteering time can bring numerous benefits as well as peace of mind if people choose the right charitable organization. Once you decide to donate your time to a charity, you can be sure you’ve made a rewarding decision. Charities need volunteers now more than ever. Giving up a few hours of your time each week is just like donating money.

Besides helping those who are less fortunate than you, there are many other reasons to volunteer your time:

  • Supporting a good cause
  • Acquiring valuable skills and work experience
  • Paying back financial assistance
  • Being around people and making friends
  • Improving interpersonal skills

The reasons for volunteering are many. Once you do, you’ll feel better about yourself as well as contribute to your community. After doing it for at least a year, you can list the organization on your resume. Who knows, this may even increase your chance of being hired.

Choose a Charity That is Legitimate

Needless to say, volunteering is great, but before joining one, you’ll want to be sure that the charity puts all its resources to good use. You want to know that the company has a good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and none of its members engage in illegal activities as embezzlement.

Do some background research on the organization before contacting them. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has a site where you can check out charities across the nation absolutely free.

Choose a Charity That Will Benefit You

Before committing your time to any one particular charity, here are some things to consider:

  • Your passions: Of course it’s best to work for a charity that pertains to your interests and beliefs in order to be a good fit. For example, if you run regularly you may want to join a marathon fundraiser. On the other hand, if you’re not into religion, you will not enjoy working for a religious organization. Choosing the right charity will make you a more effective volunteer and will be easier to commit to.
  • Your skills: Charitable organizations accept both skilled and unskilled workers of all occupations so you’ll want to access your personal skills and the duties you’re best equipped to do. Duties range from picking up trash to professional services as providing legal advice. If you’re looking for a great way to enhance your career skills and gain work experience, volunteering is a good route to go.
  • Your availability: Think about how much time you have to commit. If it’s one day a week or during the weekend, then choose an entity that will work with your schedule. If you find that volunteering your time is disrupting your personal activities or putting a strain on your schedule, you’re more likely to drop out early.

Senior Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

While volunteering abroad conjures visions of backpacking through remote villages to project locations and many a young person heading off from home for the first time to change the world, this experience is not just for the young. Volunteering abroad is also for the young at heart.

Senior-friendly Volunteer Abroad Programs

An organization noted for being Seniors-friendly, the Earthwatch Institute’s focus is sustainability and they offer projects relating to scientific field research and conservation. They have projects in 48 countries around the world and boast that many of their senior volunteers return to volunteer time and again.

Another organization with a reputation for being senior friendly, according to Transitions Abroad, is Global Service Corps which has projects in Thailand, Cambodia and Tanzania and provides opportunities for short- or long-term programs including HIV/AIDS prevention, sustainable agriculture, healthcare, and English language.

Dutch organization PUM explains that retired specialists with an entire career of experience undertake over 1,500 projects annually from a database of more than 3,000 experts, from their organization alone. Their consultants assist local organizations with financial management, production processes, company restructuring and staff policy, marketing, technical issues, and much more. They can be found in Cambodia, Vietnam, Ghana and all over South America too.

Most of all, you’ll want to work for an entity you feel proud of rather than one you despise. If you discover problems within the organization or become angry with some of the things people there do, you’re less likely to commit to it. It’s best to stick to a long-term commitment rather than dropping out.