Volunteering

There are plenty of voices out there, from teachers to politicians to your mom’s text messages, telling you just how great it is to volunteer. Do good, feel good. It makes sense. Knowing you want to volunteer is the easy part. The hard part is… how?

Volunteer your PROFESSIONAL SERVICES – Catchafire is coming to Chicago! Whether your specialty is finance, marketing, website design, or something else, non-profits need your unique skill set, and Catchafire’s goal is to make the connection. This is a great option if you’re a busy professional; the work can often be done remotely and on your own schedule. Looking for something a little bit different but still want to volunteer your skills? Check out Taproot orRaise5

Volunteer REGULARLY – In keeping with the CharityScenes theme of associate boards, I have to make a plug for joining a volunteer-focused board. A lot of boards addressing education issues encourage board members to commit to a tutoring schedule. Similarly, boards focused on the environment or children have need for volunteers on a regular schedule and offer great opportunities to help on a routine basis. Scheduling recurring volunteer commitments in a way that works for you takes care of the guesswork. If boards aren’t your thing, check out VolunteerMatchChicago Non-Profit, and MeetUp for other ideas on regular volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer FOR A DAY – Young professionals these days are faced with a lot ofmaybes. Over the next few weeks, months, or year… maybe you’ll switch jobs. Maybe you’ll move. Maybe you’ll go back to school. Maybe signing up for a long-term commitment is just not something you can do right now, but you definitely still want to do some good in your community. Organizations like One Brick are the perfect solution. When your dinner reservation or work trip gets cancelled last minute, log on and sign up to pack food at a shelter, check people in at a fundraiser,  or stuff envelopes while chatting up fellow volunteers. Want to take part in a major one-day event? We Day is April 30, and Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon is June 27.

Volunteer WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES – Boss won’t give you the time off to volunteer? Bring the boss along! Many great organizations specialize in opportunities geared toward team building. Feed My Starving Children facilitates mobile sites that provide a convenient location for your team to pack meals for children in impoverished countries. Junior Achievement will team up with your company or organization to educate students and prepare them for the work environment. Or grab some colleagues and serve a meal at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago.

Whatever your ability or availability, there are so many ways to do good and feel good!

Do you have volunteer opportunities or resources to share? Post in the comments below.