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What You Should Know About Volunteering

Volunteering appeals to many people for a variety of reasons. It allows a person to pay forward the kindness and support they may have received. It can be a way of showing support for a particular cause. Volunteering can put you in contact with those who share your interests and philosophies.

What Is Volunteering?

Anytime you perform a task without compensation, you are volunteering your services and time. People generally choose to volunteer because they care passionately about a cause, a community or an unexpected situation.

What Types of Volunteering Are Available?

There are organizations everywhere looking for your talents. Those with basic carpentry skills or a willingness to do hard labor might enjoy building homes for Habitat for Humanity. Those who can sing might join a choir that visits the elderly to put on free concerts. Whatever you can imagine can lead to an opportunity to volunteer for others. Many organizations can use your help even if you don’t have any special skills. Reading to children in school, sitting with an elderly person who needs companionship and other tasks can be done by almost anyone.

How Important Is Volunteering?

Some communities depend on volunteers exclusively or many functions. Small rural towns often have volunteer firefighters. Schools that use volunteers to help out in the classroom have students who perform better because the teacher is freed up to focus more on teaching. Many animal rescue and shelter programs are made up solely of volunteers. Even libraries rely on volunteers to help shelve books.

How Much of A Time Commitment Is Involved?

How much time an individual is expected to volunteer is dependent upon the type of organization being volunteered for and their needs. Most organizations are happy to take whatever you can provide. With classroom volunteering for example, you might only come in for an hour or two a week whereas a library or animal shelter might want you to work a shift or two a week. Most are happy to get your services and will be willing to work to accommodate your availability and willingness.

What Are the Positive Effects of Volunteering?

Aside from the actual cause being helped by your services, there are other benefits. Children who see adults, particularly their parents, engaged in volunteering are more likely to grow up with a desire to volunteer themselves. It creates better citizens and better communities.

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