In 2015, I started volunteering more than I had ever done before. This was because of a few reasons. One, I had figured out that it’s really easy to volunteer in New York City. There are so many nonprofits throughout the city, and they almost always need free help. Two, I enjoy doing it. It’s fun, and it makes me happy. Three (and this is the reason for today’s blog post), it is a way to further your career in a field. Besides internships and jobs, volunteering is a great way to gain experience in your field, network in your field, and get an inside look at an organization.
Because my friend noticed that my volunteering had increased in 2015, she recently asked me for tips on how to find volunteer opportunities. After helping her, I decided to write a blog post on it.
Here are five tips on how to find volunteer opportunities.
- Figure out the field or nonprofit where you want to volunteer. This is the most important tip because without it, the experience won’t be worthwhile for you. You should enjoy what you’re doing, or you’ll be wasting your time.
- Google it. Search for “Volunteering opportunities ________ New York City (or whatever location you’re in)” or some variation of this. For example, I Googled “volunteering opportunities Olympics New York City” and “volunteering opportunities sports New York City” to create my list of where to volunteer in 2016.
- Identify specific nonprofits that have missions you like and agree with, and then find events they have where you can volunteer. For some nonprofits, you can even volunteer to work in their office. Just find someone who works in the department you would like to work in and email that person.
- Utilize volunteer websites, such as idealist.org and volunteermatch.org. Even if you aren’t able to find volunteer opportunities on these websites, they can often point you toward a specific organization where you might like volunteer in the future.
- If you find an organization you like, look at its employees’ bios, especially the CEO’s. By doing this, you can usually identify other related organizations and thus, more places for you to volunteer!
Here’s to more volunteering!