Around the New Year, many Americans make promises to themselves: I'll exercise more, lose weight, travel, stick to a budget, write that novel. Volunteering more is another commonly cited New Year's resolution. But just like the examples above, keeping resolutions is often more challenging than making them. So we're offering you our top three tips so you can keep that resolution to volunteer more. When you're ready to get started, visit www.cuvolunteer.org to browse local volunteer opportunities!
Find the right volunteer job for you.
You show up at the charity of your choice (after calling them and confirming that help is needed!), ready to dive right in and help - but after a few volunteer sessions, you're just not feeling it. When volunteering, it's critically important that you choose an organization where you feel a passion for the mission. Before you commit, take some time to talk with a current volunteer and ask them why they volunteer with the organization. There are thousands of worthy causes. Find the right one for you!
Passion for mission is just one part of the equation. It's also important that you communicate your talents and skills to the organization so you're placed in a job you'll be able to do well. If you're a good communicator who enjoys interacting with people, a great task for you might be answering the phones or working a front desk for an afternoon. If you aren't able to lift heavy boxes, you might not be the right person to be sorting donated goods. Everyone can contribute in their own way. Take it from a volunteer coordinator - when we are able to pair your passion for the mission with a job that matches your skills, it's rewarding for everyone!
Schedule your volunteering.
"I am just too busy to volunteer." That's one of the most common reasons people don't follow through with their resolution. If you truly want to make volunteering an integral part of your life, add it to your calendar! We schedule haircuts, dentist appointments, book club, our child's soccer practice - why not volunteering? If it seems strange to you, consider the fact that consistent volunteers are the reason many nonprofits can keep their doors open. Knowing that you'll be there to help with afterschool programs every Tuesday from 3-5 is priceless to an organization.
If you think you are still too busy to volunteer, think outside the box! Can you make phone calls while waiting in the pick-up line at school? Maybe you can spare one lunch hour every two weeks to deliver Meals on Wheels? Can you provide marketing consulting to a local nonprofit via email? Many workplaces will allow employees to take a little bit of time every month to give back to the community - you just have to ask. A bit of creative thinking can open up a world of possibilities for even the most busy among us.
Volunteering does not have to be done alone! Share your passion for volunteering by involving your best friend, parents, spouse or children. Some organizations have tasks that can be done by families. Just like with many resolutions, knowing another person is joining you can be motivating. And you'll feel good knowing that you're helping people you love give back to the community too!
Ready to get started?
Visit www.cuvolunteer.org to start browsing volunteer opportunities right here in C-U.