5 Tips for Volunteering

January 20, 2011

If you choose to donate your time, the BBB Wise Giving Alliance recommends taking the following five steps

Identify your skills. Volunteer opportunities are available for any skill level. Consider what you’re good at and what services you’d be particularly well-equipped to provide. From stuffing envelopes to pro bono legal advice, you can find a good fit regardless of your education or talents. 

Consider your passions. Maximize your enthusiasm for volunteering by finding an issue that resonates with your personal passions. If you’re a runner, consider a marathon fundraiser. If you like history, look for opportunities to help out at a museum.

Determine your availability.  Make a realistic estimate of how much time you’re willing to give. Maybe it’s just a weekend of picking up trash at a park, a week of building schools in a foreign country or maybe a long-term commitment as a reading tutor. It’s better to volunteer the amount of time you can reasonably handle rather than drop out in the middle of a long commitment.

Research the charity thoroughly. Research the charity before you volunteer to make sure the organization has a commitment to standards and accountability. View BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluations on nationall national charities for free at bbb.org/charity.

Commit to stick with it. Even if your early attempts at volunteering weren’t a good fit, keep at it and look for new opportunities to give back. In a tough economy, charities need the support of volunteers more than ever.

Start With Trust. For more advice on volunteering and to view charity evaluations on national organizations, visit bbb.org/charity