Got some spare time?
Want to make a difference in the world?
Why don’t you consider volunteering?
That sounds nice, but I don’t have any special talents. I can’t speak a foreign language to translate for refugees. I’m not around kids much, so I don’t know how to work with them. I’m allergic to animals, so how can I work at the humane society?
As single women, we often lack someone we can bounce ideas off of. So if you’ve been thinking about volunteering somewhere but not sure you’d be a good fit, I’m here to share the one quality you need in order to be a successful volunteer.
That’s right. You need to be so enthusiastic about the cause you volunteer for that all the mental roadblocks you put up for yourself will simply disappear.
There are so many things I am interested in. How can I narrow it down to just one or two things?
Here are some things to consider while deciding where the best place to volunteer is:
- Find what would make you get up out of bed at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. This “weekend wake-up” test is a big one for me. I looooove sleeping in on the weekends. And frankly, there is little that I will get up early for on a Saturday morning. But if you are so passionate about the cause you are helping that you are willing to sacrifice a little sleep, I think that’s a great indicator you have found a something you love.
- See how you can match up your talents to the group you want to volunteer with. Do you want to work with refugees, but can’t speak a foreign language? See what kind of work you can do—lobbying, marketing, getting welcome baskets ready for new families, or helping the organization with social media. Do you want to help kids, but don’t spend much time with them? Build your confidence by doing something in a group such as Junior Achievement or work with a robotics club—that way, you’re not the only adult in the room. Love animals, but are super allergic? Organize pet food drives, offer to help with mailings, or work on the fundraising side.
The point is not to let a lack of formal skills stop you from meeting people you truly want to help. Nonprofits are always thrilled to have volunteers. And if you tell them how you can help, they will be happy to find something that works with your skills set.
- Trust the training the organization has to offer. When I started volunteering for a women’s homeless shelter, I had no clue how to be on a nonprofit board or use social media to leverage donations. But I learned as I went, and I got the training I needed from others who had done those activities. As I said, nonprofits love having volunteers, and they will make sure you have the training you need to volunteer successfully.
It can be scary to put yourself out there to give time and money to causes you care about. And there are tons of worthy nonprofits to work with. But if you are truly passionate about what you do, everything else will fall into place.
What was the last cause you were so passionate about that you volunteered for it? Comment below!