There are a handful of reasons for wanting to become a volunteer. For some people, volunteer work gives them a chance to give back to the community. For others, it enables them to make a difference to those around them. And then there are individuals who take it as an opportunity to gain new knowledge and develop new skills, or perhaps use it as a route to employment. Regardless of the reason, there’s one thing we all can agree on – becoming a volunteer can be very rewarding.
Now that you’ve decided you want to become a volunteer, the first question you need to ask is, how to become a volunteer? Here are the steps:
1. Begin by asking yourself what you feel strongly about. It’s easy to simply grab the first opportunity you can get but will you be happy working in that organization? Is it something you’re passionate about? Are you going to look forward to working there in the next six months or so?
2. Think outside the box. Usually, when people think about volunteering, what comes to mind are homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Nothing wrong with working there, of course, but there are also other organizations you can invest your time and energy on that may better fit your personality and skill set. You can, for example, help in disaster relief or even assist in a hospice.
3. Consider using a volunteer website. This site is designed to match you with an organization that fits your needs. A volunteer site is pretty much like a job search engine and you can narrow down the search based on the information you provide.
4. Ask around. Your family and friends might know of some organizations where you can volunteer. They may even have some experience working there too. Or they may actually work for that organization and are looking for more volunteers. Besides, working in a place where you can find people you personally know can make it more enjoyable and less intimidating.
5. Build your profile. While volunteers are welcome in many organizations, you still have to remember that you’ll be competing against other applicants looking to invest their time and effort for the same reasons as you. So it’s important to establish what you can offer and communicate it clearly to the organization/s you’re applying.
6. Start sending applications. Make sure to treat each application like you would a job and be prepared for the interviews and tests you’ll be required to undergo. You’ll be asked about your background, your work experience, why you want to become a volunteer in their organization, and so forth.
7. Know what to expect. If you get accepted, you need to find out exactly what’s expected of you, how many hours you’ll be working, what days of the week you need to report to work, what your responsibilities and tasks are, and others.
We hope these tips can help you find volunteer work that will not only enhance your skills and knowledge, but also make you a better person overall.