Maybe it was all those sitcoms highlighting it, but somehow working in a soup kitchen (which is a very honorable voluntary endeavor) has become the be all, end all way to volunteer. However, what if customer service really isn’t your thing, you can’t even boil water, or time restraints make it impossible for you to donate your time? There are many ways to give back, and the secret is finding your niche.
If you don’t enjoy your volunteer opportunity, it’s probably just not the right match. It can be just as tough to find this complement as it is the right job or relationship. Broaden your horizons, be realistic with your time and finances, and find something that excites you. If you settle, everyone suffers (including you).
1. Park/trail/beach cleanup
If you love getting outdoors and want to squeeze in a little workout and social time, volunteering for a cleanup crew might be the perfect match. These opportunities are usually just for a day, so you don’t feel bound by a recurring commitment. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people or you can gather your own group of friends to volunteer.
2. Sponsor a child
There are many ways to sponsor a child, and a very small amount of money can go a long way if you choose a reputable organization. There are also organizations that collect clothes, toys and other items so you can clear our your space while helping a child in need. Other options include programs like Big Brother Big Sister or SMART.
3. Kickstart a recycling program
If your condo community, workplace or other location doesn’t have a top of the line recycling program in place, you can always offer to manage it. This is ideal for A-Types who are also green-minded. Almost anyone can do better with recycling, and education is key in making it happen.
4. Be a foster pet parent
Usually, the “best” volunteer jobs at Humane Societies and other shelters are already taken. However, you can foster a pet up for adoption, provide a loving home, make a new furry friend and ensure that your temporary pet has a great life before being placed in a forever home. If you love animals but don’t have the capacity to own one for yourself, this is the perfect compromise.
When it comes to giving back, you have money, time and skills to spare. Find the right opportunity, and the rewards are invaluable.