LABL was started by two guys who wanted to help women in need. It’s easy to think, “Yeah! Awesome! I want to be awesome and help people in need too!” But where do you even begin?
First things first, (obviously)...
Figure out your passion and how you want to help. If you don’t enjoy yard work, I wouldn’t suggest volunteering for your local Parks and Recreation Department.
Figure out something that you think you can do for a short amount of time every week without it feeling too much like work. It could be as easy as reading to children, gathering can goods or even walking a dog.
Second, find a place that needs help.
Check out local newspapers, community websites, church newsletters, and bulletin boards in stores and libraries.
Everyone is in need of volunteers and many organizations seek out ways to publish their needs for free.
Some counties and townships have a list of non-profits in the area on their government website. Check out their websites to see if any of the organizations strike your fancy.
Once you’ve found an organization you would like to help, call them.
It can be terrifying to call strangers, but I guarantee if they work at a non-profit and are looking for help, they will be nice to you.
Many places have volunteer coordinators whose only job is to help you find a place within their organization where you feel comfortable to volunteer.
Tell them your skills and ask them where they need help!
Even if a place does not list a need for volunteers, don’t be afraid to call or even stop by and ask how you can help.
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that need done that can help a community immensely.
Once you’ve talked to an agency, it’s time to budget… time that is.
Be realistic with the agency and yourself. If you can only help for three hours a week between work, school and other commitments, that’s better than zero!
You don’t want to go in there stressed out about everything you have to do and I’m sure they don’t want a cranky person hanging around.
The final step is spread the love.
Tell everyone about your volunteering experiences and see if they want to help! Don’t be afraid to use social media to tell friends about your great doings.
It might inspire them to get out and help to!
Still not sure where to start? Here are some helpful links to get you out into the community and helping those in needs!
The U.S. Department of Education has a list for students to find awesome organizations in their community and across the world to help during the week or over long summer breaks.
Feed American makes donating food super easy by listing local food banks, demographics, needs and contact information
The Red Cross is not always out for blood… well I guess they actually are… but they also need help organizing blood drives and running them. Plus if you do give blood, they feed you and who doesn’t like free food?
Great Nonprofits keeps volunteers up-to-date on the many ways people are changing the world for the better and ways to find the best non-profits in the area.
Wish there was a volunteer search for life changing opportunities? You’re wish is granted! Just visit idealist and click “volunteer opportunities” to see the latest for your area!