“Volunteering is at the very core of being human. No one has made it through life without someone else’s help.” -Heather French Henry
Keep this in mind whenever you think about the power and impact of volunteering in all our lives.
At some point in your life, you have either volunteered yourself to help someone or received something from someone as a result of volunteering. The impact of the volunteering may not seem like a lot at the time, but without such moments, you and the world would miss out of receiving things that could help our lives become a littler easier over time.
Today’s inspiration is all about volunteering. We will take a look at the following:
- What is a volunteer?
- What does it mean to volunteer?
- How does volunteering benefits everyone?
- How can you volunteer?
- What volunteer opportunities are out there for you?
Now that we have the questions, let’s find the answers!
What is a volunteer?
Merriam-Webster defines a volunteer as:
- A person who does work without getting paid to do it.
A volunteer can be you or anyone who chooses to give up their time, energy, and resources to help someone or something in need without expecting anything back in return.
What does it mean to volunteer?
Merriam-Websters defines to volunteer as:
To offer to do something without being forced to or without getting paid to do it
To give (something) without being forced to or without getting paid for it.
When you or someone else chooses to volunteer, it is being done from the kindness of the heart without being told to do so and without any compensation in return.
How does volunteering benefits everyone?
Volunteering benefits everyone regardless if you are the one volunteering or is receiving the volunteering. Volunteer Ireland offers up 10 great reasons as to why to volunteer. I will list and share how each one can benefits the volunteer and the receiver.
- Help Save Resources
- The volunteer helps another person save time, energy, and resources in order to focus those things on other things.
- The person receiving it does not have to worry about spreading thin or running out of things in an attempt to handle something that they are not able to do on their own.
- Learn Something New
- The volunteer gets the opportunity learn a new skill, talent, and even about other people who can make him or her a better person.
- The person receiving it is able to learn about the kindness and generosity of other people who would otherwise be left unknown.
- Raise Awareness Of The Work You Do
- The volunteer is able to bring light and attention to the cause and the people involved in making it happen.
- The person receiving it gains attention in order to get further help and resources to the cause.
- Inspire Others
- The volunteer gets to be a motivator and an example onto other people as to how to volunteer and give freely.
- The person receiving the inspiration is able to inspire others either in the same manner or an entirely different manner.
- Discover Hidden Talents
- The volunteer is able to find new passions and revelations about himself or herself through the volunteering.
- The person receiving the volunteering gets to see and appreciate the new talents that are being showing through the volunteering.
- Increase Your Personal Health
- The volunteer is able to reduce stress, build self-esteem, and gain confidence through the volunteering.
- The person receiving the volunteering is able to have less stress and feel good about the work that being done.
- Build New Relationships
- The volunteer is able to make new personal and professional relationships with people through the work that is being done.
- The person receiving the volunteering is able to build similar personal and professional relationships with people as the volunteer does.
- Strengthen Existing Relationships
- The volunteer is able to work on team building skills with teammates that can help build cohesion.
- The person receiving the volunteering is able to strengthen their relationships with people who have volunteered for their cause in the past.
- Have Fun
- The volunteer is able to enjoy something that allows for them to relax while doing something that they love.
- The person receiving the volunteering can enjoy the company and not have to stress about things.
- Make A Difference
- The volunteer is able to make and leave behind a positive impact on the people involved and the work done.
- The person receiving the volunteering is able to reflect and show off the difference to the world to see.
How can you volunteer?
If you are having issues or questions about how you can volunteer, WikiHow has 11 good steps that can help you in the process of being a volunteer. I will list them below and give my take on each step.
- Consider why you want to volunteer.
- Knowing what you are after in your volunteer opportunity helps you choose the things that align with what you want.
- Ask questions and use the answers to narrow down the field to the opportunities that fits your particular purpose.
- Choose an organization that is meaningful to you.
- An organization that has a particular meaning or value to you or someone you know will likely get your best volunteer effort.
- From the answers you have received from your questions, do research on the organizations to find the right organization(s) that have value and purpose to you.
- Look for an organization or activity in your area or community.
- Finding an organization or activity nearby your location is a great way to get started volunteering.
- In your research, find an organization or activity that you are able to get to and be apart of.
- Seek out an organization and tasks within it that suit your skills and interests.
- When you volunteering opportunities that suits your skills and interests, you are able expand on them and even pick up more skills and interests.
- In your research, find organizations that will have tasks that matches and takes advantage of your skills and interests.
- Start small.
- When you do not have a lot of time in your schedule due to various factors, starting with a smaller volunteer opportunity may be best.
- Choose a volunteer opportunity that fits within your schedule in terms of time, whether it be for a few hours to a few days.
- Get to know others in the organization and how the group supports volunteers.
- When you are able to know the organization and the people involved, it can make your volunteer experience worthwhile and valuable.
- Participate in the orientation sessions so that you get to know the other people involved and what the organization is all about.
- Explain your own background and preferences to those in charge.
- Giving the organization the opportunity to get to know you better can make the volunteer opportunity a reward experience for both sides.
- Take the time to tell the organization about your skills, experience, your ideal situation, and how the organization can best use you.
- Get started.
- Once you have everything that you need to know, it is time to begin your volunteer opportunity.
- Like the step said, get started and get to work on your volunteer opportunity.
- Get training.
- Training is how you will gain the skills and techniques necessary to do a good job volunteering.
- Get your training for the volunteer opportunity through on-the-job sessions, the organization, and even other volunteers.
- Try not to give up.
- When you are able to withstand the challenges of a volunteer opportunity, you will eventually see the benefits of your volunteering.
- If you do run into issues, feel free to talk to someone within the organization to express your thoughts, concerns, and how you can find a resolution.
- Have fun.
- If you remember to have fun during your volunteer opportunity, you will do a great job with the opportunity, make new connections, and leave behind a positive impact.
- Take the time to find moments in your volunteer opportunity to laugh, get to know people, and enjoy the good times along the way.
What volunteer opportunities are out there for you?
If you are in need of volunteer opportunity, the US Department of State have a listing of sites that can help you in finding opportunities. If you do not find any of these organizations helpful, you can always do your own research locally or online.
- ACDI VOCA – www.acdivoca.org
- Action Against Hunger – www.actionagainsthunger.org
- Amizade – http://amizade.org/ Archaeological Institute of America – www.archaeological.org
- Believe In Tomorrow – National Children’s Foundation – www.believeintomorrow.org
- Big Brothers & Big Sisters – www.bbbs.org and www.bbbsi.org (International)
- Biosphere Expeditions – www.biosphere-expeditions.org
- Brother’s Brother Foundation – www.brothersbrother.org
- Care & Health – www.careandhealth.com
- Change Net – www.change.net
- Christian Appalachian Project – www.chrisapp.org
- Christian Children’s Fund – www.christianchildrensfund.org
- City Harvest – www.cityharvest.org
- Coalition for the Homeless – www.coalitionforthehomeless.org
- Concern Worldwide (U.S.) Inc. – www.concernusa.org
- Corporation for National & Community Service – www.cns.gov
- AmeriCorps – www.americorps.org
- SeniorCorps – www.seniorcorps.org
- Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) – www.campagnacenter.org/RSVP.htm
- Council on International Educational Exchange – www.ciee.org
- Cross-Cultural Solutions – www.crossculturalsolutions.org
- Direct Relief International – www.directrelief.org
- Doctors without Borders – www.doctorswithoutborders.org
- Donate Life – www.organdonor.gov
- Earthwatch Institute – www.earthwatch.org
- Eco Volunteer – www.ecovolunteer.org
- Experience Corps – www.experiencecorps.org
Feed the Children – www.feedthechildren.org
- Food for the Hungry – www.fh.org
- Global Crossroad – www.globalcrossroad.com
- Global Service Corps – www.globalservicecorps.org
- Global Volunteers – www.globalvolunteers.org
- Globe Aware Vacations In Service – www.globeaware.org
- Go Abroad – www.goabroad.com
- Green Volunteers – www.greenvolunteers.org
- Guidestar – www.guidestar.org/classifieds
- Habitat for Humanity International – www.habitat.org
- HHS/The Children’s Bureau – AdoptUsKids – www.adoptuskids.org
- Help Exchange – www.helpx.net
- Idealist – www.idealist.org/ip/volunteerOpportunitySearch
- International Medical Corps www.imcworldwide.org
- Interplast – www.interplast.org
- i-to-i – www.i-to-i.com
- InterAction: American Council for Voluntary International Action — www.interaction.org/members
- International Executive Service Corps (IESC) – www.iesc.org
- International Mission on Diplomacy – www.internationalmissions.org
- Internet Volunteer Initiative – www.applesforhealth.com/intvol1.html
- Keep America Beautiful – www.kab.org
- The Land Conservancy – www.conservancy.bc.ca
- Locks of Love – www.locksoflove.org
- Make a Wish Foundation – www.wish.org
- Map International – www.map.org
- Matching Donors – www.matchingdonors.com
- Mentor – http://mentoring.org
- Mercy Corps – www.mercycorps.org
- Mercy-USA for Aid & Development – www.mercyusa.org
- Microcredit Summit Campaign – www.microcreditsummit.org
- My Wonderful World, A National Geographic-led Campaign – www.mywonderfulworld.org
- National Center for Missing & Exploited Children – www.missingkids.com
- National Coalition for the Homeless – www.nationalhomeless.org
- National Council for International Visitors – www.nciv.org
- National Mentoring Partnership – www.mentoring.org
- National Trust – www.nationaltrust.org.uk/volunteering
- Network For Good – www.networkforgood.org/volunteer
- Oceanic Society – www.oceanic-society.org
- One – http://one.org
- Operation Smile – www.operationsmile.org
- Our Military – http://ourmilitary.mil
- 1-800-VOLUNTEER.org – www.1-800-volunteer.org
- Orangutan Foundation International – www.orangutan.org
- Orphanage Outreach – www.orphanage-outreach.org
- Pratham USA – www.prathamusa.org
- Rainforest-Alliance – www.rainforest-alliance.org
- Relief Riders International – www.reliefridersinternational.com
- ReServe – www.ReServeInc.org
- Right to Play – www.olympicaid.net/ or www.righttoplay.com
- Safe Kids Worldwide – www.safekids.org
- St Jude’s Children Research Hospital – www.stjude.org
- Save the Children – www.savethechildren.org
- Second Harvest – www.secondharvest.org
- SERVEnet – www.servenet.org
- Sierra Club – www.sierraclub.org/outings
- Stop Hunger Now – www.stophungernow.org
- United Nations Volunteers (UNV) – www.unv.org
- Volunteer for the Visayans – www.visayans.org
- Volunteer Match – www.volunteermatch.Org/results
- Volunteer Travel – www.volunteertravel.com
- Volunteers for Peace – www.vfp.org
- World Volunteer Web – www.worldvolunteerweb.org
I encourage you to look back at the moments in which you were a volunteer. You will find that in each moment that you volunteered, you managed to be helpful and valuable to everyone whom came across your good deeds. The world would not be same if you did not volunteer in some shape, form, or fashion. Let’s remember that whenever you volunteer, you are giving the world something special that will benefit everyone that is affected by your good deeds.
I have a few questions that I would love for you to give some thought. Feel free to answer and comment below:
- Can you recall your most memorable volunteer opportunity?
- What was special about that volunteer opportunity?
- How did that volunteer opportunity benefit yourself and the people involved?
- Based off of that experience, how has that affected your volunteer opportunities?
- What would you recommend to someone who is looking to be a volunteer?
Your answers and comments can help someone figure out two important questions…
- How can you volunteer?
- What volunteer opportunities are out there for you?
-Michael J. Fite