Posts Tagged ‘professionalism’

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.