So how do you get started?
- Choose an organization or charity that is meaningful to you. Are you passionate about helping the homeless, or those that are ill? Do you love animals?
- Create a list with up to five organizations and narrow your choice down to the top two or three.
- Decide if you and the organization are a mutual fit? Do you believe in their mission statement? Do they have locations near you that are easy to reach? Visit the organization/charity and learn more.
- How often do you want to volunteer?
It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment. It can be as little as one or two days a year, or a few hours a month, once a week or every other day. You’re in control and this is where you have flexibility to fit your schedule. You’ll be amazed; just a few hours of your time can make a tremendous difference and make you feel unbelievable.
Here are some online resources that can assist you with the process.
Still not sure?
Talk to family, friends and co-workers. There may be someone that is already involved and can assist you in taking the next step. Then make a decision.
Even if after all of that, you decide “this just isn’t for me” it’s okay. Volunteering isn’t for everyone. But keep your mind open to it. One day if it’s the right fit, give it a try; you might be surprised how much you enjoy it.
Short on time, don’t worry. Charities can use your financial support too! It can be as simple as making a monetary donation on their website. I recommend you go through the same process as volunteering to find your match.
Even though there is a world of good in donating, be very leery of charities that commit too much to fund raising and administrative expenses and not enough to the actual programs they represent. A fair breakdown is 25% and 75%.
Fortunately there are plenty of websites that can help. They rate charities and provide a thorough analysis of these organizations. I find Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org ) to be a solid choice especially since it’s America’s largest independent evaluator. There are other good options too, like Give (www.give.org ) or Charity Watch (www.charitywatch.org/home ).
It’s ultimately your choice….money or time – either way it’s a win-win for you and those you will help.
The rewards are tremendous:
- Plain and simple, you just feel good doing it
- Impact and improve a life or lives
- One good deed leads to another – transform your life and others
- Broaden your horizon with a new experience
- Connect with others through community
- You’ve made a difference, no matter how big or small
There’s a saying, “It’s in giving that you truly receive.” Take the next step, you won’t regret it.
*If you’re interested in supporting our servicemen and women, please donate to one of these great organizations: