What's Right for Me?

When thinking about volunteering, ask yourself the following questions:
  • How much time can I commit?
  • What talents or skills can I offer?
  • What do I want to gain from volunteering?
  • Will I enjoy volunteering?
Once you decide you want to volunteer, think about the problems or issues in your neighborhood or community that concern you. Also think about whether you want to volunteer in the structured environment of a large organization or the more informal environment of a smaller group and whether you want to work on your own or engage your friends or family.

When you've selected or narrowed your volunteer interests, talk to your parents, friends, teachers, club sponsors, a counselor, or local resources such as government offices, churches, or synagogues to see if they have suggestions on how to go about making it happen. Also, read your local newspaper, and watch and listen to the television and radio news for ideas.

There are many reasons to volunteer. But one should be universal-to do something you can enjoy. After you've made a choice, commit yourself to it and keep the following in mind:
  • Be flexible. It is rare to find the "perfect" fit right away.
  • Keep an open mind. You might discover something new that interests you.
  • Be persistent. Volunteer coordinators are often busy, so don't assume they're not interested in you if they don't call you right away.
  • Take necessary training classes and attend orientation meetings held with regard to the activity you want to do. Informed volunteers are the best volunteers. Gaining the extra knowledge will help you do the best job possible.
  • Be responsible. Show up on time and follow through with your commitments so that people know they can depend on you.
  • Don't expect to start at the top. You have to work hard and prove your worth before you are given more responsibility.
  • Expect to get plenty of personal enjoyment and satisfaction from your volunteer experiences.
Get ideas for what a volunteer can do.