Many of us often think about volunteering, but don’t always find the courage to seek out opportunities. But now that it’s summer, school’s out, our evenings and weekends are – for the most part – free, it’s worth thinking about how you can start volunteering again. Often times what stops us from volunteering is our inability to find something that really sparks our passion.
How can you lead a life of volunteerism for which you are truly invested? It can be simple but it has to be intentional. Here are seven ways to start a life of volunteerism:
1) Start with passion
When considering where you want to volunteer, you have to first decide what cause you want to support. Choose a cause that moves you. Choose a cause that you regularly follow, and feel the need to do something about. This will ensure authenticity and excitement and will help you remain committed.
2) Add your skills
Once you’ve decided what cause you want to support, think about your skills. Ask yourself: What skills will be valuable in the setting you want to volunteer in? What skills can you apply to serve others? Skills-based volunteering is one of the best ways to support non-profit organizations. Consider deeply how your specialized knowledge and talents can be utilized as a volunteer.
3) Find the opportunity
The next step is matching your passions and skills to an organization that needs your help. There are several online platforms made specifically for this, which allow you to filter by location, time frame, and other specifics. Here’s a short list: Volunteer Toronto, CharityVillage, Volunteer Canada
4) Make it quality time
After you’ve found the perfect opportunity, dedicate the time. Being able to commit your time to an organization is easily one of the biggest challenges of volunteering. Find an opportunity where you can bring your friends or family, and make it quality time while you volunteer together.
5) Keep it consistent
Unfortunately, time isn’t the only hurdle. To maintain consistency and stay on track, try planning a consistent day each week, month, or quarter into your calendar and make sure that you don’t double book.
6) Know the benefits
Giving back is good for those you are serving, and for you. Knowing the benefits of volunteering is one more way to get you started and keep you motivated. Serving others is a rewarding and even stress-relieving experience.
7) Remember your value
Last but not least, remember your value to the organization. Many organizations can’t do their work without the help and support of volunteers. They have a vital mission to make something better in this world, and you’re helping make it happen.
Leading a life filled with volunteering sounds much harder than it is. You simply need a willing heart, an open mind, and a good intention. Let these seven steps propel you to make it happen, and it’ll be worth it.