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Volunteering seems like 2018’s new buzzword, and for a good reason. It is good for our communities, small businesses, and the volunteer. Volunteering allows the average person the chance to give back and create positive change in the world. However, to make the most out of volunteering, there are some considerations to take into account when searching for the right opportunity.

Commitment

Before deciding where or how to volunteer, think about the type of commitment you want to make. Are you looking for a long-term engagement or more of a single-day project? Knowing what you want going in saves organizations training costs, and saves you energy.

When determining what exactly you want to do as a volunteer, think about the people you want to work with, or who you may end up working with due to the chosen organization. Volunteering with children or at a nursing home may be a better choice for those looking for a long-term commitment while volunteering at a community garden allows for a less-involved volunteer.

Passion

Along with the type of commitment you want to make, you should decide where your passions lie. This will enable volunteers to get the most out of their volunteer time. In fact, choosing to volunteer with an organization that shares similar passions increases a volunteer’s commitment. It is also beneficial to keep professional skills and goals in mind when searching for opportunities. Your skills could increase the chances of finding a valuable position, as well as making your time spent more efficient and enjoyable.

Reasonable Expectations

While jumping into a volunteering position can help get you started, this doesn’t mean that you should sign up for 5 hours a week off the bat. Instead, look at your schedule and decide which days and how much time you could invest, without feeling like you have no downtime. Sitting down and writing your schedule, including the TV you typically spend, will allow you to find the perfect days and times to get involved. It is far less stressful for everyone if you start volunteering at your minimum and work your way up, rather than starting with too much and slowly backing out of the work you were assigned.

Opportunity #1

Rather than spending weeks on end thinking about what is the perfect fit or which organization benefits the most, just jump into a role. Once you find an opportunity, dive right in. There is no need to waste time waiting for the “perfect” fit. Regardless of the exact opening, the purpose is to give back. While you spend time determining who benefits the most, they are all going without your help. If the first opportunity you find doesn’t work out, find another. Put simply: avoid overthinking and try it out.

Regardless of the amount of time and energy, you can commit to an organization, volunteering in any way is beneficial. By determining what is best for your schedule, you can give back while also maintaining time for your career, social life, and relaxation.