Did you know Manitoba has the second-highest rate of volunteerism in Canada?
If you’re looking to give back to your community, volunteering is a great way to donate your time to a local organization. It can help you gain valuable experience in a field you’re interested in, work with an organization whose values align with your own, make connections with others in your community and earn perks like discounts. Some employers even often flex days for staff to volunteer!
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available in everything from health care, to animal welfare, to the environment, but it can be overwhelming to sift through everything if you’ve never volunteered before.
We’ve compiled a list of things to do before committing your time to an organization:
1. Do your research.
Though there are always opportunities available, not all of them will be a good fit for you. Some volunteer roles may require a specific skill set or personality type. For example, if you are not comfortable with interacting with strangers, don’t look at opportunities that require you to talk to people all day.
Find the right fit for your personal goals, availability and level of commitment. Bonus if the organization’s mission is something you’re personally interested in or passionate about, which will make the work all the more enjoyable.
2. Make sure you can commit.
Be realistic about your availability so you don’t overextend yourself and burn yourself out! Make sure to find out everything you can about any role(s) you’re interested in. Ask yourself questions like:
What kind of time commitment is required?
Am I willing to spend my evenings and weekends volunteering?
Does it require travel, whether locally or internationally?
Are there any physical requirements (like lifting boxes)?
Are there associated costs (bus tickets, parking, etc.)?
Do I need any specific training or certifications?
Training is often involved with volunteer opportunities, so make sure you can commit before beginning a new role so as not to waste others’ time.
3. Search for opportunities.
Once you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for, start looking for specific opportunities. Many organizations post volunteer positions on their websites or social media channels. If you’re in Manitoba, Volunteer Manitoba has an interactive listing of opportunities for your perusal.
If nothing appears to be available online, there’s no harm in contacting an organization you’re hoping to volunteer with to see if they need an extra set of hands! You can also ask friends and family who volunteer to see if they know of any opportunities.
4. Talk to others who volunteer there.
If you’re on the fence or need more information, reach out to a volunteer who is already involved with the organization. Ask them questions about the work itself, time commitment and overall culture. You may even be able to shadow someone before committing to a role of your own; it never hurts to ask!
If you’re still not sure about a potential fit, try some one-off opportunities. Volunteer at a weekend event or fundraiser, or sign up for a shift if available.
5. Treat your search like a job search.
Just like with a job search, it’s important to take the time to research volunteer opportunities to ensure they’re the right fit for both sides. Create a volunteer resume listing key information like your skill set, relevant education or work experience, and availability. Prepare for any interviews appropriately. And of course, be professional through the whole process!
Once you find that perfect volunteer opportunity, you’ll be able to make lasting, positive change in your community.
If you don’t have the spare time to volunteer but still want to contribute to your community, you can donate tangible items to organizations like the North End Women’s Centre. Hustle + Charm members, along with our partners at TableSpace, recently coordinated a donation drive of personal care items for the organization.
If there is a topic you’d like Hustle + Charm to cover in a future blog post, feel free to reach out to us! For more business and lifestyle tips, follow us on social media and be sure to sign up for our newsletter.