Looking for something to do but have no money to spend? Have you considered the benefits of volunteering? Working with others can be a fun and enriching way to spend your time while keeping money in the bank. Here are four of my favorite reasons to get out and volunteer.
- Get to Know Your Community: There is no better way to get out and know the neighborhood than volunteering with the organizations that support it. By doing so, you are likely to meet new people and feel more connected to your local community.
- Develop New Contacts: One of the best ways to create professional contacts is by working with a wide variety of people. Volunteering offers the opportunity to expand your network, often in new professional areas.
- Gain Professional Experience: Everyone knows that employment is increasingly competitive, but volunteer work can help you get a leg up in the market place. Often as a volunteer you will have opportunities to learn new skills while helping out those who need it most.
- Lowering Stress: Volunteering is fun and fulfilling, and therefore a great way to combat stress.
How Do I Begin?
- Decide what kind of volunteer work you want to do. Do you want to help children, work with a spiritual organization, or support a cause you feel strongly about?
- Next search the phone book and Internet for organizations in your community that work with those causes.
- Then contact those organizations to find out about their volunteer activities.
- Lastly think over the options you’ve discovered and determine the best fit for you.
- Ask around, maybe you already know someone who is connected to an organization that could use your help.
- When attending local community events keep an eye out for organizations that may need volunteers for future community activities.
- The Corporation for National and Community Service has a great search engine to help you find volunteer positions (http://www.serve.gov/).
- Just because an organization doesn’t advertise the need for volunteers does not mean they aren’t looking. If you think you could help write someone a letter, email, or stop by to talk with him or her.
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