Do you have an interest in volunteering at some point in your life? Giving back to the community? Investing time and treasure in something you have interest in? Here are some ideas to help you figure out what you want to volunteer for.
From time to time my firm has our staff complete a “life satisfaction” tool. In this tool, a circle with pie segments we describe different components of our life – family, health, spiritual, professional. Then we put a blue mark inside each pie piece for how important we feel that life component is and a red mark in each pie piece to signify how we feel we are living those different segments. Then we connect the marks showing us where we might want to focus our attention to improve the important things in our lives. One of my important life segments is volunteering in the community. I’ve used a similar approach to deciding where I want to spend time and treasure. Here are several themes you might consider as you ponder what to volunteer for.
Find a local organization involved in music, theater, or art. If you have a passion for the arts, ask around to see if there is a committee that needs help or a friend’s campaign that can use a donation. There are many grants available to arts programs but many organizations require help to fund day-to-day operations or to achieve certain goals that aren’t the purview of institutional dollars.
There are many ways to fill this area of interest other than the obvious volunteering at a church or synagogue. I have found volunteering for charity organizations within my community to fit this bill nicely. There are organizations that have a spiritual/religious affiliation but that serve the greater community like family service organizations, food banks, and vocational assistance. Of course, if one wanted to volunteer in their church or other religious facility I’m sure they would be welcomed.
Every profession and most trades have organizations that serve them. It could be something like The American Association of X or Y for example. Volunteering for a professional or trade association is a great way to meet fellow practitioners, have input in the direction of your industry, have something to do in retirement, and give back to the industry that provided your career success.
If you can find an organization that supports solving a problem you are passionate about, you may derive a lot of personal satisfaction from giving time or dollars to such an organization. I think this has been difficult for me because I haven’t yet found a cause I’m truly passionate about. I’m looking and I’ll know when I’ve found it.
This is a charitable organization that serves a community need but tangentially ties back to something you like to do. For example, I’m really interested in Angel Flight Central because I like to volunteer but I also like to fly. In my younger days, when I still liked to camp and sleep in tents, I used to enjoy being a volunteer in a Boy Scout troop. Fun for me and a value delivered to the organization.
I’m not suggesting that you pick an organization in each of these interest areas as I did but perhaps it will help you focus on what you’re interested in and motivate you to seek out opportunities to volunteer. If you’re looking to volunteer more extensively, this description might help you build a solid volunteer portfolio.