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How To Find The Volunteer Need That's Just Right For You

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Oct 3, 2014
by Bennett D. Burke, Volunteer Center Director

You’ve decided you’d like to become a volunteer, or perhaps you’re already volunteering, but you’d like to find a new opportunity to serve. Thanks for stepping up! But now, you’re wondering how to find a good fit. Here are some tips and techniques for selecting a volunteer opportunity, and a few “volunteering best practices!” 

Find the right fit: Don’t sign up for the first volunteer opportunity you see – be strategic. Look for organizations that might help you make good connections, which support a cause in which you believe, and have well-run volunteer programs. 

Use your current expertise? Some people like to use a current skill or knowledge base in the service of others. For example, someone with marketing skills might want to use them to help an organization with their fundraising or other mission-based events. A college student accustomed to doing research for school assignments could volunteer to research an issue or demographic for a nonprofit. An accountant or accounting student could volunteer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. 

Learn new skills? Maybe instead, though, you’d like to learn something new. Many organizations have training programs for volunteers. This might be a way to get add some new skills or knowledge to your portfolio – and might even help you find a new paid employment opportunity someday! 

Speaking of which, volunteering allows you to try on different tasks without job-hopping. While volunteers don’t usually do work that’s identical to that of paid staff, you’ll be exposed to the work of an organization in a more comprehensive way than just reading about it on a website. You’ll also make new connections, find out about job opportunities in that field, and perhaps add a few new references or experiences to your resume. 

Volunteer like you’re getting paid for it. Especially if you hope to use your volunteer services as a springboard to other opportunities. Great employees – and volunteers -  show up on time, work hard, keep their commitments, and help organizations succeed! 

Now, take the next step and search our site for the volunteer need that’s just right for you!