Join us all month for 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010!
In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, this seems like an appropriate topic for today. Volunteering to help the victims of the earthquake may not be feasible for everyone, but be sure to check out this list of places to donate from Lifehacker.
Here are a few tips of my own:
1. Figure out what you’re passionate about.
Volunteering — like so many things in life — is much easier when you choose something that you’re passionate about. While there are thousands of good causes, each with a need for more volunteers, you will be the most help if you choose an organization that does work that gets you excited. For some people this may be building homes with Habitat for Humanity. For others, it may be volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center. For still others it might be knitting blankets for sick children. There is no shortage of causes to choose from.
Begin making a list of the ones you feel strongly about, and add to it as you come across other opportunities. I haven’t used this site yet, but VolunteerMatch looks like a great way to look for places to volunteer if you’re not sure where to start.
2. Figure out what you’re good at.
Once you figure out what you’re passionate about and what organizations fit that description, consider what skills you have that fit with their needs. For example, if you’re passionate about providing dental care for inner city children but don’t have any dental training or skills, you might volunteer as a dental assistant or community liaison, or even to provide administrative services.
If you have young children, volunteering outside of your home may not be possible, but there are plenty of things you can do at home, from preparing newsletters and stuffing envelopes to coordinating volunteers and calling donors. Get creative and don’t be afraid to call an organization and explain your skills and limitations to see if they have something for you!
3. Volunteer with someone.
Look for opportunities to volunteer as a family or with your best friend. Not only will it keep you accountable to actually stick with it, but you’ll have one more reason to look forward to it knowing you’ll have some time with the people you love. Volunteering together is a great way to strengthen a relationship as well.
4. Mark the dates on your calendar now.
Once you figure out where you want to volunteer, start marking future dates on the calendar right away. If you’re still testing the waters, don’t commit too much in case you decide it’s not the best fit for you, but having dates marked on the calendar ahead of time means your volunteer work is less likely to get crowded out by other opportunities and obligations.
5. Don’t be afraid to look for new opportunities.
Finally, don’t be afraid to decide that something really isn’t working for you. Although it’s important to fulfill your obligations, it’s okay to step down from one position and look for another that gets you excited, uses your skills and fits your family’s needs!
Where do you volunteer? What are you passionate about?
The 31 Days of Organizing for a Better 2010 series is sponsored by Get Organized Wizard. Make 2010 the year you get organized and achieve your goals with the Life & Goal Organizer, the ideal system for organizing your goals, plans and life!