Nothing beats the feeling of sheer joy when someone hugs you and says thanks because of a simple act of kindness that you have given to that person without expecting any reward.
Volunteering your time to charity is a great way to enrich other people’s lives as well as your own. It is best though to figure out in advance your interests and skills and match those to the needs and mission of the charity.
Here are some things to take into consideration during your assessment:
1. Volunteer for something you love
Give yourself time to list down your interests in the area of volunteer service. Is your interest to help lies more in saving street children, taking care of abandoned elderly or mentoring ex-military personnel with mental health problems? You can start by thinking about the people dearest to your heart and which way of life you wish to enrich voluntarily.
You can also determine your choice of charity with your current hobby such as cooking, photography, painting, sewing, etc. There are non-profit organizations out there which are involved in setting up workshops for less competent individuals to teach them these skills for their livelihood and you can assist during their session. If you are a good cook, you might want to volunteer to cook for your local church or center when they have a feeding program.
Your present job could also be something that you love and you have a desire to extend your service for free in your spare time. You can try to match the expert skills that you have harnessed in your job to the charity sector.
It is very important that we render our time to do things that we at least like and not to something that other people have asked us to do. It results to consistency in our service and to self-fulfillment as well.
2. Find out your WHY
One key step in taking part in any volunteer program is identifying your reasons ‘why ‘ you wish to participate in the first place. Time is so important in our busy society so why donate it to others?
The reason most people do not do what they can do is because they do not have a strong why. In the absence of it, our commitment to volunteer service may just be a fleeting whim.
As the old saying goes, “Where there is a will, there is a way. ” Through your own will (strengthened by your why ), it would be easier for you to find the way (or the how) to help others and then do it consistently.
3. Identify your availability
Identify a schedule that you can offer for volunteer work. Would the weekend be the best for you or are you also available during specific days of the week? At least have a good idea on the frequency of volunteer work that you can render if it is once a week, twice a month, etc.
This information would be helpful when you are already being interviewed by the charity organization and you are trying to match their scheduled activities with your availability.
4. Set up your boundary
You have already initially identified the kind of service that you can render based on your interests and skills with your available time. The third step is to identify the boundary where you would like to spend this service. Would you like to volunteer in your local community, your country, or the world?
Remember that your service to a smaller organization such as your local charity may have a greater impact as a whole in this organization. Given their limited resources, your contribution could be helping an important local program running or could make way for a new project.
Consider setting your boundary based on how much impact your volunteer service would be and the extra recognition and satisfaction that your kind deed brings to you.
5. Search for the right charity
Ask within your local community for charity programs which could have matched your skills and interests. Your family and friends might have some programs in mind that you can check out. Review the local listing at your church, school, restaurants and community center to find the program which suits you best. It could be as simple as volunteering to help the local kids in school such as teaching them how to read their favorite stories. If you are a business owner or professional, you can express your interest to volunteer in the Rotary Club near you.
Internet is also the easiest way to get quality information on the existence of charity or non-profit organizations whether local or international.
Once you have chosen your charity and have become an official volunteer, it is most important to be reliable and commit yourself fully to its mission. Otherwise, you will just be a liability rather than an asset to their team.