A First-timer’s Guide to Volunteering
Find the right volunteer opportunity to match your skills and interests.
Volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but also intimidating if you’ve never volunteered before. Many of us want to give back in some way but struggle to find the right opportunity to get involved. Luckily, there are many ways to volunteer your time — you just have to find the right match for you.
How to Start Volunteering
First, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Why do you want to volunteer? The standard answer is that you want to give back. But getting matched to the right opportunity also involves determining what you’re hoping to gain from the experience. Maybe you’re retired and want something that keeps you active. Or perhaps you want a new hobby. Or maybe you’re hoping to gain a new skill. Regardless of your reason, search for a volunteering opportunity that aligns with it.
- What are you passionate about? Do you simply love animals or being outside? Are you passionate about a political issue? Or do you love your neighborhood and want to see it prosper? Write down everything that comes to mind.
- What are you good at? This can either be related to technical skills you’ve gained from your career or to hobbies you have. Are you good with numbers? Handy when it comes to building or repairing things? Or maybe you have a knack for working with children?
- How much time do you have to dedicate? If work and family keep your schedule overloaded, you may have time to volunteer for only a few special events a year. Or if you have more time, figure out how many hours a week you have to spare. Whatever your availability, be honest with yourself and others on the amount of time you can afford to give.
Now that you’ve thought about the type of organization and how often you’d like to volunteer, think about the role that would best match your personality. Here are some ideas:
- You’re a people person. Many organizations need volunteers to work directly with the people they’re benefitting, so having good communication skills is key. You might also be especially skilled at fundraising, PR or marketing. Maybe you already have this experience from a job, or you’re hoping a nonpaid opportunity will lead to a new career. Either way, your outgoing personality will come in handy.
- You’re a natural leader. Some people thrive at leading, organizing and delegating tasks to a group of people. If this sounds like you, look for opportunities where you can get your friends, family members or co-workers involved. For example, you could plan and organize a team of people to make and serve a meal at a local soup kitchen.
- You’re more of a team player. Would you rather be given a task to complete instead of leading the charge? Plenty of organizations would welcome your team-centric attitude with open arms.
- You work better alone. We get it: Human interaction isn't for everyone. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a volunteer job for you. You can still volunteer to stuff envelopes or perform administrative tasks from the comfort of your home.
Are you feeling more confident about the type of volunteering you want to do? Good —now it’s time to start your search and do your research on the organizations you may want to get involved with.. P&G partners with many nonprofits that are always in need of volunteers, including:
- The United Way: The United Way’s mission is to help create health, education and financial stability in every community. Check out volunteer opportunities they have near you, and search for available volunteer jobs filtered by your interests.
- Habitat for Humanity: Help improve struggling neighborhoods and homes in your community or others by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. The organization offers multiple ways to donate your time, from one-time events to more long-term opportunities. Check out how you can get involved.
- Feeding America: Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization with over 200 foodbanks. Find a foodbank near you and learn how you can join the fight against hunger.
Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. P&G supports many additional causes, and there are so many great organizations that need volunteer support to stay up and running. Find the one that suits your interests and passions, and get out there!