How to find a non-profit organization that works for you?
Posted on Friday, June 19
You are now ready to volunteer! But where do you go and how do you know if it's the best fit for you and what you are looking for?
Now that you have learned what volunteering means, what benefits there are, and why you should volunteer - you’re ready to volunteer, right?
The next question you are asking yourself, where do I go and how do I know which organization to join?
Like everything in life, volunteering comes in different shapes and forms, there is no one size fits all. And being that we are a higher education institution I MUST add…. you have to do some research! By doing this you will find an organization that is best suited for you. It can be overwhelming, since there are thousands of organizations looking for volunteers, however, if you take a few minutes to learn more about what an organization is about and what type of volunteer they are looking for and what you have to offer this will help narrow down your choices. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to volunteer there are many types of volunteers - you just need to find what works best for you and what meets your goals.
That being said, let’s get you ready to choose an organization and get you started in being a volunteer! Here are some helpful tips that are designed to give you the information you are looking for, but also provide you some questions to consider to help your search and find that volunteer organization.
Tip #1: Know why you are volunteering
Are you wanting to volunteer because you are driven by passion, a cause, career field experience?
Are you wanting to volunteer based on a skill you have?
Are you wanting to volunteer in order to enhance a skill?
Tip#2: How would you like to volunteer?
Be realistic on your availability. Are you available to volunteer for one-day volunteering or for a longer timeframe?
Tip#3: Decide where and how you would like to volunteer
Are you available for in-person or virtual volunteering?
Do you want to volunteer in your local community or spend time on a larger national effort?
Do you have transportation to the site? Is there a bus line near the organization?
Technology has made the next tips easier to find as most organizations having a dedicated website and social media presence that can give you a glimpse of what to expect.
Tip#4: What is the organization's main work and goal?
You can usually find this within the organization's mission statement and see what type of work they are doing on website and social media platforms. Does it align with your passion/cause, your skillset, and/or career field?
Tip#5: Do they require specific criteria to be met or required training in order to become a volunteer for the organization?
Depending on the type of work, some agencies will require background checks, orientation, age limits, and training hours. And then you have some that do not have any at all. You will need to see if you meet these requirements and if you are unsure then reach out to the organization to ask for more information or clarification.
Tip#6: Start with a short-term project or one-day volunteering and then, if you are not finding what you are looking for then you can politely move on. However, if you are exactly where you need to be then you can speak with the volunteer coordinator about longer commitment.
Much like dating, there are times that things just don’t work out, it’s a learning experience. However, keep trying - don't give up if the first organization didn't work out. Take baby steps, but don’t be afraid to just go out there and try! You never know what can happen once you find the place for you - endless opportunities!
We are in this together, Coyote Strong! Kindness is not canceled.
Questions? Contact the Office of Community Engagement at email@example.com.