10 Ways Volunteering Helps You and Others

Have you ever volunteered your time to a non-profit organization or in your community? Volunteerism is truly a gift from the heart. It’s not about the praise or recognition. It’s about the support you willingly give to others. Volunteering can come in many forms. When you find the type of volunteer work and organization that aligns with you, it’s like a magical meeting of the stars.

I felt that way when I volunteered my time at Love, Unity & Values (LUV) Institute. The opportunity at LUV came along at the perfect time. It was like the opportunity was meant to be for both myself and the non-profit organization.

I was exploring LinkedIn one day and came across volunteer opportunities through Catchafire. Catchafire is also a non-profit organization and it connects people who want to volunteer their time and skills to organizations that need help at no cost. Setting up your profile is easy and quick. All you need to do is connect your LinkedIn profile, add a profile picture and make a few selections. Viola! You’re ready to go.

About LUV Institute and the Volunteer Project Work

LUV Institute is a wonderful organization working to empower underserved youth in Chicago with economic opportunities while helping them build resilience and social-emotional competencies.

They have been supporting their community for over 10 years and needed help with planning and scheduling 3 projects to celebrate that amazing milestone. I was happy to help and enjoyed working with their team. Remote volunteering was a perfect match from a time perspective and also to be able to reach others in a different state, basically across the nation from my location. It was an amazing experience. Learn more about it at the LUV Institute Volunteer Impact Story.

Volunteering has many positive outcomes not only for the organization and the community but also for the person who is donating their time and skills. It can also improve your own outlook and self-esteem.

10 Benefits of Volunteering

  1. Promotes the feeling of purpose
  2. Builds self-esteem and confidence
  3. Creates new social opportunities and relationships
  4. Increases happiness and gratitude
  5. Can be part of your own healing process
  6. Gives you a sense of being part of the community you’re serving
  7. Develops new skills and connections
  8. Can provide a new job opportunity (possibly) and new professional connections
  9. Develops awareness about causes and people who need support
  10. It’s fun and fulfilling

You can volunteer your time in so many ways. I have volunteered virtually and in-person in my community. The list of ways that you can give back is endless. When I learned about Catchafire and that I could volunteer my time virtually, it was the perfect way to fit that type of support into my busy schedule.

10 Ways You Can Volunteer Outside Your Home

  1. Serve at a senior event
  2. Help at a homeless shelter
  3. Give your time at a school event or on an ongoing basis
  4. Offer to help at an animal shelter
  5. Stack books at your local library
  6. Read to kids at a summer program
  7. Coach a youth sports team
  8. Support voter registration or voting events
  9. Package meals or sort donations at a local food bank
  10. Offer your skills to your local government, city, or town office

Look at your local community organizations, government offices, and schools to see what might seem like a fit for your interests. These organizations need support and are grateful to have citizens come help. You might meet some amazing people!

For more ideas, visit 25 Ways to Volunteer in Your Community.

10 Ways You Can Volunteer From Home

  1. Explore Catchafire or VolunteerMatch – match your professional skill with organizations that need help
  2. Join a virtual knitting club and donate what you make
  3. Protect animals by supporting the Humane Society from home
  4. Offer career advice to students through Career Village
  5. Spread joy to others by sending a positive note by mail with Sunshine Snail Mail
  6. Help the American Red Cross from home as a Digital Advocate
  7. Become a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line
  8. Make a social impact with our youth at DoSomething.org
  9. Volunteer your grant writing skills at a non-profit organization via #1 above
  10. Mentor high school kids and change lives

The possibilities for virtual volunteer work are endless. You can find more ideas at 53 Easy Ways to Volunteer from Home.

How To Find the Right Volunteer Fit

It’s pretty simple. Below are three areas to focus your volunteer search.

  1. Keep it small and close to home. Whether it’s a virtual volunteer opportunity or you’re heading out in your community, take small steps to learn what you like and what connects with your own personal mission.
  2. Take action. You can think about it all day long with good intentions, but you have to take action to make anything happen.
  3. Focus on yourself. Try different things and focus on yourself first. It sounds counterintuitive, but what aligns with you the most, will be where you get excited to focus your energy. If you try one thing and you’re not feeling it, that is OK. Keep going and you’ll find the right fit.

Taking time to volunteer in your community or virtually is truly a gift. It has a reach that is beyond what we imagine. It’s a way to connect and support others. Even the smallest amount of time will have a lasting impact.

Does something from the lists above connect and align with you? Take the next step and explore the possibilities. You never know where the path might lead and how it can make a positive mark in the world.

Image by Bob Dmyt from Pixabay

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