The Volunteer Opportunity Checklist
Originally published on ChartAttack.com.
Volunteering provides many benefits. Skill development, networking opportunities, and emotional satisfaction are all reasons people choose to volunteer. To ensure a successful placement, your volunteer position must align closely with your personality and professional goals.
To identify the right fit, both for you as well as the organization, the volunteer team helping drive Acts 1:8 Ministry, a Christian non-profit, encourages you to ask yourself some important questions before you apply.
Examine Your Goals
Know your motivation for volunteering. Altruistic reasons for giving your time can lead to a different opportunity than if you need to fulfill educational requirements. If you are required to develop specific skills for a school or professional program, determine that the volunteer opportunity will provide you with that chance. If you want to give back for its own sake, choose a cause that you care about so you will remain interested.
Question Your Commitment
Even short-term volunteer positions require commitment. Many organizations ask for a scheduled shift or a minimum number of hours per week. Review your responsibilities and priorities to determine what you can give on an ongoing basis. If your supervisors see you as reliable and dependable, they may increase your responsibilities or give you a job reference. It will also make your time as a volunteer more pleasant and rewarding.
Research the Organizations
Private businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits all have volunteer opportunities. If many different placements could fulfill your personal goals, choose one at an organization you respect. Think ahead to the time you ask your superiors for a job reference and determine what organization would look most impressive on a resume. If your goal is personal fulfillment, know the history of the organization and the full range of work it does, so you can feel satisfied contributing to the cause.
More often than not, organizations will have a social media presence online that will provide a snapshot overview of their core ideals. Acts 1:8 Ministry, for instance, has a digital presence on several platforms, including Facebook and Idealist.org.
Understand Your Role
Volunteer positions are typically different from paid jobs. Even if you impress during your volunteer hours, your options to progress might be limited. Due to legal restrictions, human resources regulations, or workplace dynamics, some duties might never be offered to you. Keep this in mind when you choose a role that you want to maintain for the long term.
Seek Personal Recommendations
Trusted friends and colleagues can tell you what it's like to volunteer at a particular place. Even if the hours, duties, and location seem to be a good fit, your success as a volunteer depends in large part on a personality match. Talk to people who have worked or volunteered inside the organization to get a sense of whether it will work for you. Personal accounts can give you a realistic picture of what your volunteer position will look like.
Don't Overthink It
Volunteering should be a positive experience for you and the organization you're helping. Taking the time to choose the right opportunity is one way to help ensure success. In your search, it is vital to remain open to unexpected avenues that can give you personal and professional fulfillment. If an opportunity seems less than ideal, consider trying it out. There could be a hidden gem you never realized existed.
About Acts 1:8 Ministry: Acts 1:8 Ministry has helped build over 130 water wells and towers in Africa, blessing hundreds of thousands of lives with clean water. As a 100% donor-supported organization, all efforts rely on generous donors who want to help spread kindness, strengthen their faith, grow the Christian church, and enrich communities.