Consider why you want to volunteer:
People volunteer for all sorts of reasons. Some are required to do it for a class, some may volunteer to use as a resume builder, and some may just want to get more involved in their community and help make positive changes. It might be a combination of all of these things. No matter if you’re aspiring to end world hunger, or just volunteering to get a good grade in class, you’ll be doing good and doing it for a reason that is right for you.
Choose an organization meaningful to you:
In my mind, why would you want to waste your time doing something that doesn’t mean anything to you? Think about issues you feel strongly about and build off of that. For example, if you think education and literacy is important, find volunteer opportunities that revolve around tutoring. Do some research and find an organization in your community whose mission is in line with your own values. There are a million different organizations with different purposes, so if spending your time at a soup kitchen doesn’t sound appealing, try an animal shelter, hospital, city park, or nursing home. My advice is don’t ever settle. Take your time finding something you enjoy rather than just agreeing to the first thing that comes along.
Seek out an organization to suit your skills and interests:
When I started seeking out place to volunteer, I was overwhelmed with the amount of places available. One thing that helped me narrow down my decision was looking at organizations that seemed interesting to me. I tried to find something that seemed do-able with the skills I already have, something in tune with my field of education, and somewhere that seemed fun. The key here is finding something compatible with your interests and skill set. For example, if you’re outgoing, and consider yourself a “people person,” you might not have very much fun doing something like sitting in an office and filing papers. Ask yourself basic questions such as: Do I like to work with people? With children? Animals? or Do you prefer to work by yourself? If you aren’t really sure what you like or dislike, volunteering is a great way to find these things out. Volunteering is like sampling dishes at the deli, it lets you dabble in a little bit of everything until you find what you like.
- Attend UMD’s Community Involvement Fair