As busy professionals, it’s not always clear how to start volunteering or helping in the community. Here are some easy steps to get you going.
Step 1: Write down three things you are passionate about
Some of you are thinking, easy – done! What’s the next step?
For those of you that aren’t so sure, here’s a great way to figure it out. Take a moment to think about the moments so far in your life that have made you the most excited, where you accomplished something you were very proud of, a moment that you will always remember. Write those moments down. Now, ask yourself “Why” each of those moments jump out. What was the result or skill that corresponded to the moment? Lastly, write the passion that fits with that result.
Step 2: Determine the amount of time you have to give
Grab your calendar and look at the next two weeks and ask yourself how much time do I have to commit to volunteering? Write down the amount of time.
If you’re like me you’re thinking I don’t have any time. That’s the problem. If I had time, I’d already be volunteering. Right? Try this, write down how much time you will be working, spending with the kids, and/or with your husband over the next two weeks. Can any of that time become volunteer time? Many work places support volunteering and there are lots of opportunities to volunteer with your kids. Still have NO time? Is that really a ZERO, ZIP or possibly 1 or 2 hours? You can still make an impact with a small amount of time.
Making a donation is also a great way to help an organization championing a cause you are passionate about and takes less than 5 minutes!
Step 3: Find a volunteer opportunity
Take your passion to the web! There are many websites that will help you find volunteer opportunities that match your passion and time availability. Use these sites to help you determine three possible volunteer opportunities, but do not commit your time just yet.
http://www.isupportcommunity.org/ : find charities that share your passion, search by category, and watch video stories/testimonials (Naperville, IL area)
http://www.volunteermatch.org/ : find opportunities by geographic location and cause category (Nationwide)
http://givingdupage.org/ : search for opportunities to get involved based on your own interests, by geography or by a specific type of need (DuPage County, IL)
https://www.google.com/ (You can always “Google it”)
Step 4: Do your research
As you’re looking at possible opportunities, “do your research.” Where are they located? Is that too far? Can I bring my kids? Are there volunteer testimonials or additional information on their website? Can I see myself there? These questions will help you choose the best opportunity.
Step 5: Tell Someone About It
After you’ve found an opportunity and scheduled it, tell someone about it. It’ll make you that much more excited and committed.
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Marion Ruthig is the Founder & Executive Director of I Support Community, a nonprofit focused on educating, inspiring and empowering people of all ages to get involved. She founded ISC to teach her children that they are truly fortunate and to give back to her community. She lives in Naperville with her husband and three children.
You can learn more about I Support Community at: www.isupportcommunity.org, Twitter – isupportcomm, LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/i-support-community?trk=top_nav_home and Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/isupportcommunity.