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The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Volunteer's Guide: How to Have Fun While Giving Back

A few weeks ago, we shared a guide to making impactful donations on a limited budget. At Charity Navigator, we truly believe that no gift is too small to make a difference. Monetary contributions, however, are not the only way to support your favorite organizations. Today we’re sharing a guide to finding the right volunteer opportunity for you. These tips will help you give

If you took a look at our Guide to Donating on a Limited Budget, you’ll remember that we suggested starting by creating a list of causes you’re passionate about. This will help you narrow your search for volunteer opportunities. More importantly, it will point you toward opportunities where you can have a direct impact on an organization or cause you care about.

You’ll also want to consider ways you would enjoy lending a hand. Do you have a unique professional skill or hobby the organization could benefit from? Do you have a firm list of things you do not want to do? Or, are you open to anything? Be thoughtful and honest with yourself. The key to having fun with your volunteer opportunity is caring about the cause and enjoying the work you’re doing.

A few more things to keep in mind:

  • Your availability: Are you interested in a short-term opportunity (a few hours, a day, or a week)? Or, do you want to volunteer long-term (a semester, indefinitely)?
  • Your ability to travel: Some volunteer opportunities may require you to travel -- do you have access to a car or transportation?
  • Your desired outcome: Like creating a list of what you’re willing/not willing to do, be honest about what you hope to achieve. Are you hoping to gain a specific skill? Or, work on a particular project? Share these with the organization before you start.
  • Regional and national organizations: Their headquarters may not be located in your area -- do they have a local chapter or affiliate you can volunteer with?

Once you’ve identified what you’re interested in, you can find an organization to partner with in their quest to change the world. Charity Navigator’s Advanced Search Tool and Discover feature are great resources for this. They can help you quickly identify charities that are working locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally on the issues that matter most to you. 

After you’ve found a handful of organizations that could be a good fit, start reaching out to them. Ask what needs they have and what volunteer opportunities are available. Again, be honest about what you’re willing to do and how much time you can commit. 

Once you’ve found the right opportunity… commit! And get ready to get to work! Be sure to ask the organization what you’ll need to come prepared for your first day. 

Volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding (and fun) experience, especially when you’re working on a cause you’re passionate about. These tips will help you find the right opportunity for you.

Written by Ashley Post, Communications Manager.

As a 501 (c) (3) organization itself, Charity Navigator depends on public support to help donors make informed choices. Please consider investing in the future of Charity Navigator by making a donation today.  Donate now >>


Unknown said...

Great tips! Thanks for this article.

Asanka said...

nice article..

George said...

I have been participating in the Habitat for Humanity Global Village program for over 10
years. Each trip brings not only new insights into another culture but a deeper appreciation that we are all members of the same extended family.
George, Kansas City MO

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Kate said...

Great post!