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Ignite Your Passion: Start Volunteering

The Titanic was built by professionals, the ark was built by volunteers. –Eleanor Roosevelt

Volunteerism is on the rise as organizations try to expand their impact. As part of a successful volunteer organization, the money and impact volunteers save is phenomenal. Yet, many people aren’t rising to the cause. When I told a friend what I did, he said, “So people just help you for free? Why?” Good question. Why volunteer? The benefits are endless, but here is my short list of why you should volunteer.

It makes a difference. Volunteers are the leading reason that organizations, especially those with limited funding, can advance their cause. Really passionate about a cause? You can still advance it while keeping your day job by volunteering a couple hours a week. Non profits often seek volunteers to help with a need that cannot be met with current funding. Think about a nonprofit that helps at risk children do better at school. Who is going to pay for the extra attention they are receiving? Volunteers can provide that vital resource without costing the organization anything.

It feels good. Doing something good innately makes you feel good. A natural high with wonderful consequences. Finding a cause or organization that you are passionate about and then working alongside it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it gets you out of yourself. It is said the best way to lose yourself (or forget about your problems) is to serve someone else.

You can become a better person. And teach your kids about it. I have yet to meet a bad person who volunteers. Volunteers tend to have kindness and compassion that exudes into the rest of their lives. They also know how to get in there and accomplish something. All qualities that we want our kids to have. Volunteering alongside your children is one of the most memorable ways to instill those desired characteristics.

Volunteer opportunity for every passion. Really interested in helping seniors? Meals on Wheels or Senior Companion is a wonderful program. Love music and the arts? Volunteer to set up for a concert or take tickets at a nonprofit theater.

So, how do you volunteer? There is a bevy of organizations looking for people with your skills. Here is how to leverage those skills to make the biggest impact.

 Find your passion. If you are not passionate about it, your volunteer experience won’t mean as much. There should be an organization for every passion, especially in more populated areas.

Figure out which organization to volunteer for. Check out volunteermatch.com or your local United Way to find what needs organizations have in your area. The local church is another great place to locate volunteer opportunities.

 Vocalize your skills. Are you a certified accountant? Don’t get stuck answering phones. Let the organization know what your skills are so you can be given the best job that you can excel in.

But whatever you do, just get out there and volunteer. There is no time as good as now.

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