According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes volunteerism and service, 60.8 million Americans volunteered in 2007, providing 8.1 billion hours of service. Recently, the Independent Sector reported the value of one volunteer hour to be $19.51, making the total economic value of volunteer hours provided in 2007 quite a sizeable financial contribution to our society. If just an hour of your time as a volunteer is worth nearly $20, imagine the impact you could have while helping organizations in your own community.
Whatever your interests, whatever your skills, there is an organization near you that could greatly use your assistance as a volunteer. Consider the volunteer suggestions and tips before you get started and when you’re ready, enter your zip code to discover thousands of volunteer opportunities right at your fingertips today.
- Use your talents and skills. Find a project or program that fits your particular interests.
- When you identify a project or program, interview the people in charge. Make sure it's a good fit.
- Think about how you'd like to serve. Are you more comfortable in large groups (renovating a community center) or one-on-one (teaching someone to read)?
- Don't take on more than you can handle. You know your limitations. Only pledge the amount of time with which you are comfortable.
- Consider who is being helped and know that they need you.
- Find opportunities to volunteer with your family.
- Be open to learning from the experience. Volunteering can open your eyes in too many ways to count.
- Find the joy in service. After all, it's not work!
- Prepare and distribute meals to elderly neighbors.
- Collect food from neighbors and donate it to a local food bank.
- Visit someone in a hospital or nursing home.
- Knit a scarf or blanket and deliver it to a homeless shelter.
- Pick up trash at a local park.
- Collect used books and donate them to libraries, jails, or shelters.
- Stuff backpacks with school supplies and deliver them to schools.
- Start recycling in your workplace or neighborhood.
- Walk dogs at a local humane shelter.
- Do lawn work for someone who can't.
- Clean up a vacant lot.
- Create a mural or public display to beautify an area.
- Get involved in a national day of service like Make a Difference Day or MLK Day.
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