What causes matter to you? There are several ways to connect with volunteer opportunities that you value. Find out what interests you in your city and sign up to volunteer and make a difference!
Websites like Volunteer Match (volunteermatch.org) allow you to search by cause. Choices include areas such as animals, children & youth, health & medicine, hunger, and seniors. You can also search by city or age group, for date-specific opportunities and end up discovering organizations you never knew existed.
University volunteer centers:
College campuses offer volunteer opportunities through student activities or engagement centers. Look around for a school organization promoting volunteerism. This resource could be called the Volunteer Action Center, Volunteer Connection, or something similar. These centers can connect you with local opportunities and introduce you to new organizations.
Another option: find volunteer opportunities in your area by conducting a Google search. Research non-profit organizations in your area because they are particularly appreciative of willing volunteers. Depending on the organization (especially if it is on the smaller side), you could get a regular volunteer position, forge valuable relationships with the employees, and reap the benefits.
Ask friends and family:
Chances are, someone in your circle can point you to some great work in the community. Ask around, and you could just end up with a new passion. Additionally, volunteering with a friend can not only be more fun, but also make putting yourself out there less intimidating.
Use these tips to find causes in your community that align with your values and goals. And then, when you have racked up some service hours…
Remember to log those hours!
Not only is tracking volunteer hours a good tool for personal awareness, but also lends credibility when it is time to apply for a job. Employers may want to see proof of your volunteer hours to get an idea of your involvement. Logging your hours through your college volunteer center’s tracking site will help tremendously with proving legitimacy because all entered hours must be approved by the volunteer opportunity’s supervisor or contact. Better yet, these types of systems should automatically alert you when you are eligible for awards such as the Chancellor’s or President’s Volunteer Service Awards, which denote completion of 50 or 100 hours within the past year, respectively. Easy peasy.