Posts Tagged ‘nonprofit’

1.    Find something you care about
This goes without saying, but research may be harder than you think. The first organizations  that come to mind (like soup kitchens) often need the least amount of help. You may find better matches that need you more elsewhere. If you’re having no luck with the traditional Google search, check out websites like Volunteer Match, Craig’s List: Volunteer, or even check out Mercyworks Volunteer’s  twitter feed @mwvolunteer. If you’re a student, check out your school’s Career Center–You may just find a hidden opportunity, tailored just for you!
2.    Do a background check
This is especially important if you use Craig’s List. Most people have qualms about scamming those who want to volunteer, but it’s still important to know what you are getting into. Will you be working in an office or in the field? Will you learn a great deal from your opportunity, or will you just do the grunt work? Do you really support the aims and approach of the organization? Make sure you answer these questions before you commit.
3.    Make a great first impression
Any organization is happy to have you. Really happy. However, if you don’t communicate your skills, you may be stuck doing the jobs that are lying around undone. If you’re people-oriented, make sure the organization knows it! Don’t get stuck shredding papers or cleaning the office , so use your first call or email to your advantage.
4.    Treat your volunteer work like it’s a job
Hopefully it’ll be a pretty fun job, though. While your money is not on the line, you should still give volunteer work your all. Why? Often, you’ll cause a lot more harm if you offer to help but don’t follow through. Don’t add to the chaos, by being late, putting forth minimal effort be the volunteer of the month! You’ll make more friends, move up the ranks and make more of a difference.
5.    Network
Like-minds are all around you. Take advantage of it! These people will remember your work and your passion! Being a volunteer means becoming a bigger part of your community—and this community will help you when you need it.

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HBO’s The Newsroom starts with a diatribe: Jeff Daniels’ character, an apolitical news anchor, describes today’s young adults as “the worst, period; generation, period; ever, period.” Why? Apathy. “Many Boomers view Millennials to be lazy, disrespectful and self-absorbed. Meanwhile, Millennials seem to become easily frustrated with the closed-mindedness of the seniors,” say the Young Nonprofit Professionals of Detroit.
But are Millennials really apathetic? No:
“Renewed interest in public service is visible across the country. Applications for AmeriCorps positions have nearly tripled to 258,829 in 2010 from 91,399 in 2008. The number of applicants for Teach for America climbed 32 percent last year, to a record 46,359. Organizations like Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers have been overwhelmed — and overjoyed — with the swelling demand from talented 20-somethings.” New York Times
It seems graduating in tough economic times has increased Millennials’ incentives to take altruistic, nonprofit jobs. After all, if high paying jobs are few and far between, why not take a job that pays poorly but does good? However, to compete in an environment like this, we’ve become aggressively ambitious and pragmatic—things Baby Boomers may confuse with self-centeredness and apathy.
Closing the Generation gap with volunteer work:
We can do one better than just working for a non-profit–we can volunteer. Volunteer work is the most effective way to show Baby Boomers that we care. Millennials should pick a cause we care about, sacrifice our limited time as a student, and work for free alongside the older generations. We are also well positioned for this kind of work. After all, most of us are only responsible for ourselves and can devote more of our free time to a cause. As I mentioned in previous blog entries, we could use the work experience involved with volunteer work as well.
Baby Boomers need Millennials as much as Millenials need Baby Boomers:
We are keyed into the Internet in a way Baby Boomers are not. We can make word spread more quickly and more effectively than they can. If we can connect the Baby Boomer experience with Millenial speed, positive change is inevitable. Millenials: it’s your duty to connect, so volunteer.

Posted: July 14, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

This is interesting. I think I’ll do my next blog post on Millenials.

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network

According to a recent New York Times article, Millennials are increasingly seeking employment with the nonprofit sector. Applications for AmeriCorps positions have almost tripled (91,399 in 2008 to 258,829 in 2010), and the number of applicants for Teach for America climbed 32% last year to a record 46,359. This is certainly exciting news for the sector and speaks to the potential of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network – both nationally and here in Detroit – to start a movement advancing social change.

There is a challenge inherent to this groundswell of interest by Millennials, though: Are nonprofits ready for them? I’m sure that every YNPN Detroit member has run across instances where the generation gap has posed a significant challenge. After all, many Boomers view Millennials to be lazy, disrespectful and self-absorbed. Meanwhile, Millennials seem to become easily frustrated with the close-mindedness of the seniors of the field.  For…

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