How to Be a Great Volunteer

by Contributor

Volunteering to pick up trash can dramatically improve a park's appearance.

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Whether you volunteer at an animal shelter or you spend time teaching Sunday school, volunteering is a wonderful opportunity to bring good into the world and support your community. Volunteer opportunities abound and vary significantly. Because of this, virtually everyone can find a volunteering opportunity that suits their personality, skills and interests while meeting a need. Even though the work may be on a volunteer basis, volunteers should still adhere to some guidelines so that they can be the most help possible.

Volunteer for something you love. It doesn't matter what it is, but it does matter that you care. If your passion is helping those with cancer, volunteer to raise money for research or simply raise awareness about prevention steps. If you're passionate about improving the environment, volunteer to pick up trash in public places. Your passion needs to show and will keep you motivated so put your effort into something you treasure.

Offer what you can do best. Try not to be stuck typing when you are a people person, and on the flip side, you are probably not best suited to directing traffic if you are shy. Be respectful to those organizing volunteers, but let them know your strengths and show them how your strengths can be beneficial in your volunteer work. Find the balance that brings your talents to the table and really helps the organization.

Be on time. This is a simple but important idea, but it applies to volunteering just as it does other areas of life. Consider being late to your job; your boss, coworkers and customers would be upset. The same applies to volunteering. If you simply can't help being late, just call as soon as you realize you will be late so that arrangements can be made accordingly if needed.

Think of your volunteer work as an adventure. See what you can give, and, at the same time, be open to learning, meeting new people and enjoying your time doing things you love.

Mix your volunteer jobs. If you become bored, it may be time for a schedule change in your life. Volunteer on different days or ask for different tasks to see what other opportunities are out there. It is volunteer so you aren't stuck in one place.

Back away if you are feeling overwhelmed. This is an important thing to consider. Most volunteers start with great intentions, but as our life changes so does our schedule and the volunteer job can become a hassle. Stop this by addressing your goals and ask how your volunteer work fits into your life.

Tip

  • Yearly volunteer projects as well as monthly obligations are great for meeting new people.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

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