11 Steps to Volunteerism

1. Consider why you want to volunteer

Examining what you want to accomplish will give you direction on where you should volunteer.

2. Choose an organization that is meaningful to you

For example, if you feel strongly about literacy—volunteer at a library! If you want to help fight hunger—seek out a food pantry!

3. Look for an organization or activity in your area or community

Talking to people like your host family, local coordinator or a teacher at your high school is a great way to find local organizations that 1) need your help and 2) are close to your home.

4. Seek out an organization and tasks within it that suit your skills and interests

If you are someone who is really chatty and outgoing, you might want to volunteer to work with the elderly, but if you are more quiet and reserved, sorting items at a homeless shelter may be appealing to you.

5. Start small

If you are really busy with school and homework—don’t stress! Starting out by committing a few hours a week will still allow you to make a difference, but will not overwhelm you in the process.

6. Get to know others in the organization and how the group supports volunteers

It is important to learn about the goals of the organization and if their principles are meaningful to you.

7. Explain your own background to those in charge

Telling the program leaders about your unique background will allow them to understand you better as a person and maybe even create new projects for you to participate in!

8. Get started

Ask lots of questions but you will not know if the organization is right for you until you actually start your volunteer work!

9. Get training

Be sure to attend any formal orientation or training required and ask to work alongside someone who has had experience working on the same project.

10. Try not to give up

Sometimes you may not be doing the most glamorous work (i.e. road cleanups, long hours or seemingly “useless” work), but know that you are helping out your community and learning a lot from the experience!

11. Have fun!

If you’re doing something you love, chances are your enthusiasm will make other people happy and want to volunteer with you!