Volunteers collecting donated clothes

Once you decide to donate your time to a charity, you can be sure you’ve made a rewarding decision. Considering the hard economic times our country is facing, charities need volunteers now more than ever. Giving up a few hours of your time each week is just like donating money.

Volunteers collecting donated clothesBesides helping those who are less fortunate than you, there are many other reasons to volunteer your time:

  • Supporting a good cause
  • Acquiring valuable skills and work experience
  • Paying back financial assistance
  • Being around people and making friends
  • Improving interpersonal skills

The reasons for volunteering are many. Once you do, you’ll feel better about yourself as well as contribute to your community. After doing it for at least a year, you can list the organization on your resume. Who knows, this may even increase your chance of being hired.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009, approximately 26.4% or 63.4 million people in the United States donated their time to work for a charitable organization.

Choose a Charity That is Legitimate

Needless to say, volunteering is great, but before joining one, you’ll want to be sure that the charity puts all its resources to good use. You want to know that the company has a good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and none of its members engage in illegal activities as embezzlement.

Do some background research on the organization before contacting them. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance has a site where you can check out charities across the nation free.

Choose a Charity That Will Benefit You

Before committing your time to any one particular charity, here are some things to consider:

  • Your passions: Of course it’s best to work for a charity that pertains to your interests and beliefs to be a good fit. For example, if you run regularly you may want to join a marathon fundraiser. On the other hand, if you’re not into religion, you will not enjoy working for a religious organization. Choosing the right charity will make you a more effective volunteer and will be easier to commit to.
  • Your skills: Charitable organizations accept both skilled and unskilled workers of all occupations so you’ll want to access your skills and the duties you’re best equipped to do. Tasks range from picking up trash to professional services as providing legal advice. If you’re looking for a great way to enhance your career skills and gain work experience, volunteering is a good route to go.
  • Your availability: Think about how much time you have to commit. If it’s one day a week or during the weekend, then choose an entity that will work with your schedule. If you find that volunteering your time is disrupting your activities or putting a strain on your schedule, you’re more likely to drop out early.

Most of all, you’ll want to work for an entity you feel proud of rather than one you despise. If you discover problems within the organization or become angry with some of the things people there do, you’re less likely to commit to it. It’s best to stick to a long-term commitment rather than dropping out.

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