Do Good, Feel Good – Volunteering
Do Good, Feel Good – Volunteering is the first in a series of blog posts highlighting ways that individuals and families can have an impact on their community and the world.
Outside of giving financially to an organization, volunteering is one of the top ways those who are philanthropically inclined can have an impact. There are many ways to get involved and different types of volunteering opportunities. Here are some of the most common, as well as how to find volunteering needs within your community.
Likely the most common form of volunteering and the most accessible is that of time. This is a broad category that encompasses any organization or activity where simply being present and completing assigned tasks is the main goal. Examples of this type of volunteering might be working at a local food pantry, going to an assisted living facility to spend the afternoon with its residents, or helping with a community production of a play. Donating your time is a great way to start volunteering because it requires minimal training and is widely needed across causes.
Volunteering your expertise is another great way to help but in a specialized way. This could include pro bono work for underserved or at-risk communities or being a mentor to someone in your field. While slightly more difficult to find, depending on your area of expertise, this type of volunteering can profoundly impact others in a very targeted way, often in a one-on-one setting.
Similar to time, manual labor is a common form of volunteering as it does not usually require a high degree of training. Examples of this could be working with habitat for humanity to build houses or even cleaning up your local park. For those who also love travel, volunteering internationally can be a great way to merge your passions. We will have more on philanthropic travel, specifically in an upcoming blog.
4. Campaigning & Awareness
Getting the word out about specific causes is another important facet of volunteering. There are both structured and unstructured ways to do this. A more structured, time-intensive approach would be helping organize a charitable event or fundraiser. A more unstructured approach would involve using your voice on social media to raise awareness and direct others to the causes you support.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the broad topics of volunteering, a hurdle many clients encounter is finding needs within their communities and opportunities to volunteer. There are multiple ways to go about this. If you already have specific organizations you like to support, getting on their volunteer list can be as simple as calling and expressing your interest, perhaps completing some training, and setting your schedule. For those who perhaps don’t know how they want to volunteer or don’t have specific organizations they would like to work with, there are tools online that can help pair opportunities with potential volunteers. For example, VolunteerMatch.org lets you search within your local area for specific fields of interest and will return a list of volunteer requests from charitable organizations.
Volunteering is just one way you and your family can positively impact the world and your local community. The opportunities to volunteer are broad, with a fit for every age, skill set, ability, and schedule. Today’s technology makes connecting with organizations needing help easier than ever. Whether you are a seasoned pro at volunteering or looking to try it out for the first time, most people would agree that once you have the experience and see the impact you can have on others, you will be excited to volunteer again and again!
Breanna, a Wealth Manager at BDF, is passionate about helping clients feel confident in their financial future and specializes in philanthropic giving by working with clients to craft strategic plans to make their giving more impactful. She earned her undergraduate degree from Purdue University, her MBA from University of Indianapolis and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification at Northwestern University.