Should I Donate Time or Money? What’s More Valuable?

Money2When it comes to deciding which way to volunteer either through a financial donation or by giving your time, the fact that you are even considering either of these options is remarkable. The sad truth is that although there may be so many that contribute to both of these areas, there will always seem to be a need for more. From my own personal experience I can give advice on which of these options might be the best one for you so keep reading if you need a few more pointers before you make a decision.

When deciding whether to give money to charity or your time as a volunteer it will depend on your personality and your capability to give generously with monetary contributions. My own personal belief is that the best charity you can be involved in is one where you are the one handing the money out yourself. This way there is no “middle man” and opportunity for corruption. Ideal places to do that could be a church, school, food bank or another organization nearby.

Unfortunately when the money needs to be sent abroad to a remote location, this makes it nearly impossible to do yourself. In such an instance, before you give to a charity you should do as much in depth research as you can, such as finding out whether or not the charity is qualified to give you a tax deduction and if it’s reliable. Donations for charity can be done online, through the mail or even texting a certain number on your cell phone. If you and your family cannot afford to give money to a charity then giving up your time might be a much better alternative to help out. [Read more...]

Volunteering: Bringing Communities Together

DonateI might not be the greatest person on the topic of volunteering, but because I have done so much of it I will share my thoughts on the subject and how it can really bring a community together for a greater good.

First of all when you become a volunteer you are automatically putting your image out for others to see. If you are volunteering for all the right reasons then people will realize this very quickly. You can volunteer in a community by working at a food bank, teaching people to read, cleaning someone’s home, becoming a volunteer fire-fighter and so much more. By carrying out volunteer work you will be acting as an adhesive that will hold the foundation of the community together. As you help others you will also be inspiring them to serve in some way as well. It can become very contagious and pretty soon you have many others benefiting from what would otherwise cost people and family’s time and expense.

Next, when you volunteer time and effort by helping others in the community you may get a chance to meet strangers. People can live in the same town or village for their entire lives and never officially meet. Volunteering can bring about the perfect opportunities to make new friends, expand your web of connections and make the neighborhood a little smaller. This is great because it will influence the involvement of fun activities and get-togethers which will also strengthen relationships. [Read more...]

Are You Participating In The Avon Walk For Breast Cancer?

It is the sad truth but many of us do not like to exercise regularly. Some say they do not have the time or that they do not have anyone to exercise with. For most people, they simply lack the motivation. However, you can always start with the simplest one, which is walking. And if you need more motivation, aside from having good health and well-being, then what about walking for a global cause such as the Walk for Breast Cancer with Avon?

Avon Walk For Breast Cancer

Avon is a company that has been devoted to promoting women’s well-being for years. Currently, it supports the world’s fight against dreaded breast cancer and it needs your support too by joining in the walk for the cause.

Why Join The Avon Walk For Breast Cancer?

The great thing about this walk for a cause is that you get to exercise and achieve well-being while being able to help raise funds that support local programs that help cancer patients and organizations find the cure.

Cancer is a deadly disease and is claiming millions of lives every year around the world. Your participation can mean a lot of help to these people. Whether you participate in the run or donate, you are sending help to the San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Zero Breast Cancer, Alameda Health System, Women’s Cancer Resource Center, and more.

When Is The Next Run?

If you are interested, you can join the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer: San Francisco this coming July 12 and 13, 2014. It is a 2-day run that covers 39 life-saving miles.

The run starts and ends at the Fort Mason and the Wellness Village and will go through the North Beach and Pacific Heights. Along the way, you will enjoy the scenery and landmarks including the Fisherman’s Wharf, the Ferry Building, as well as the Presidio. Then you will cross the Golden Gate Bridge to the countryside of Marin.

On the first day, the total distance to run will be 23.8 miles while the second day will total to 15.5 miles. The arrival time on July 12 is between 5:30 and 6:00 in the morning and the walk will commence at 6:30 AM. Meanwhile, on July 13, the closing ceremony will start at 2:30 in the afternoon.

You Can Also Donate!

If you do not want to take that 39-mile walk, you can still give your help by donating to or sponsoring either a crewmember or a team. All you need to do is visit Avon’s website, www.avonwalk.org, and see the instructions as to how you can donate.

If you are the owner of or work close with the owners of a business, you can have the company sponsor the walk. Sponsoring the Avon walk for a cause has been cose to the heart of Dr. Vasili Gatsinaris who owns a chiropractic clinic in Irvine California. He has helped a lot of athletes and other individuals get back on with their lives through various wellness treatments. He is donating to Avon’s walks and is also bringing his employees to join in the walk.

Avon Walk for Breast Cancer is more than enough reason for you to get up and start walking. What can be better than hitting two birds with one stone? What better feeling can there be than getting to stay fit while being able to help cancer patients and organizations find the cure?

Get healthy and be part of a great cause. Be a proactive and join Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I’ll be there. Will you?

Keeping Volunteers Fit

In the world of charity and volunteer work, it is a must that you need to be always on standby whenever help arrives. Any delay on your work can bring about lost time. With this, only a limited amount of people can be helped. Every relief mission requires a good amount of time to effectively carry out the charity’s task. Delaying even just a bit can make your beneficiaries lose trust in you.

Disasters, whether natural or man-made, can strike at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t pick any place or any time – it just happens. You can’t stop its wrath and destruction, you just need to be prepared for what’s about to come either good or bad. There’s no need to fight fire with fire, you can just escape it or be the water that extinguishes the flames.

That’s why the people who are in the business of helping other people should be in their most potential and optimal health. You get exposed to everyday elements from around anywhere you go. You always need to be careful in every way to be consistent in your duties.

Staying fit is very important with volunteer workers. Keeping in shape along with the right food to eat can give you more energy, more strength and more will power. These three elements constitute a great volunteer. If you’re slightly above average or slightly below one, it may be a challenge. Once you decide to commit yourself to being a different person by staying in shape, the rest, as they say, is history.

Volunteer programs from charities do not just involve the people in need, but also the people who give those needs.

Organizing events such as community workouts can be very helpful and conducive to the working environment of the volunteers. This does not only let you maintain your weight and health, it also lets you have enjoyment and fun among your co-workers and colleagues. Socialization is needed and valued among people in the workplace. The same goes for people working for charities and philanthropic organizations.
As much as possible, in a workout, you need certain things to use not just for the sake of appropriate attire, but also for your safety and cleanliness. One such example is training shoes. This is needed to the body to keep your feet safe from the elements.

A lot of people are killed by so much ignorance and misunderstanding aside from contracting diseases. Sometimes, this is the reason for a couple of delays and setbacks. Going to your local community workout can relieve you easily. You don’t get to worry about too much problems.

As you can see, this is a win-win situation. It’s more like mutualism where a bird sits on top a horse. The horse provides the bird food by eating insects, while the cow gets the benefit of making their poo-producing orifice. The same concept goes for having these community workouts.

Christmas Volunteers at the Richmond Auto Mall

The Richmond Christmas Fund brings together the community through monetary and gift donations of new toys and other gifts for needy families. Last year over 800 children 15 years and younger were the recipients of gifts so that no child will not experience the joy of Christmas.
One of the corporate sponsors of this and other Christmas outreach programs is the Richmond Auto Mall. For 10 years the “Windows of Hope” has raised funds for this endeavor. This year 240 community volunteers came together to make the windows of the dealerships come to life. There were 73 partners and 9 lead sponsors who funded these years efforts.
The Richmond Auto Mall located in Richmond BC is the home to 14 auto dealers. We normally don’t associate volunteer work with car sales but this location is different. It has a strong outreach to the community. It includes food bank collections, a city shopping courtesy bus, support of animal rescue groups, and the annual “Windows of Hope”.
The Windows of Hope raised over $27,000 in donations which were used to help more than 1,900 low income residents. The Richmond Christmas Fund used this money to give grocery vouchers along with Christmas gifts to needy families.
So what do the volunteers for Windows of Hope do? They paint the windows of the dealerships in Christmas themes and the dealers make donations in return. The auto mall remains decorated through the holidays and the public is welcomed to visit to see the window paintings.
Volunteer Richmond is a non-profit, charitable organization which matches services and volunteers in Richmond, BC. It has been in operation since 1972. It does this by being an information center for the needs of the community so volunteers can find their passion.
It provides information about community services, volunteering needs and senior servicers. To provide volunteers assistance and training is has local and on-line workshops.
Volunteers can go on line and search a community services database and a volunteer opportunities database.
Volunteer Richmond understands the need for quality child care that meets the needs of the child and the family. It provides information to meet these needs and tools to equip child care providers with materials, training, information and support to provide adequate programs. The staff makes over 500 referrals a year matching families with child care centres.
Volunteer Richmond provides Leadership Richmond programs. Youth Now shows young people how to serve on local non-profit organization’s boards. Richmond Caring Companies supports partnerships between the businesses and non-profit sectors encouraging volunteering.
Getting older is a concern for all. The senior community support services works to support the senior population. It works closely with the Vancouver Coastal Heath and United Way of Lower Mainland to help promote a healthy, independent lifestyle. It includes volunteering shopping for seniors. It provides information and referral resources. It provides education and support for caregivers. Community Action Ambassadors are trained senior volunteers. They offer peer-to-peer support. They mentor isolated seniors to help educate them about healthy aging and mental health issues including use of alcohol and drugs.
The commitment of Volunteer Richmond can be summed up with this simple explanantion from their website.
“Families thrive and businesses grow when people feel safe knowing that thecommunity is there to support them in times of need. When people mobilize to help people, the definition of the word “community” is fully realized. Bonds arecreated and form remarkably strong circles of support. In Richmond, these circles are truly impressive.”

Blenders For All

A very unique opportunity presented itself a few months ago. I was approached by a large blender manufacturer about a partnership where we would provide new blenders in all of the homes that we built with habitat for humanity. This was a huge win for us! Not only because it would provide one more special surprise to the deserving families, but because of the health impact it could have on them for the rest of their lives.

Blendtec, the blender provider, is a well regarded, established blender manufacturer that has won numerous awards. On the small appliance review site The Real Blend many of their models have been rated as the best blender for smoothies year after year. They obviously know their stuff. And part of this knowledge includes the fact that in lower income homes obesity runs rampant. Whether it is because the parents are working two jobs and do not have the time to make a home cooked meal or perhaps when they do cook, they are not knowledgeable on how to make wise food choices. Whatever the case, Blendtec wants to change that.

Numerous studies prove that both current and potential health problems can be avoided if we increase our daily fruit and vegetable intake. But, for most of the families that we work with, waking up and cooking spinach and packing a fruit filled lunch for their kids is not an option. They are looking for the quickest and easiest solution so they can get out of the door as quickly as possible. This typically means a sugar filled muffin or pop tart. Not exactly the great start to the day.

Blendtec wants to change that. Now each of these deserving families will have their own Blendtec Total Blender. With this kitchen addition, they will have the opportunity to incorporate delicious fruits and veggies into their diet every morning through a delicious and nutritious smoothie. For many this will be a God send as they struggle with diabetes or high blood pressure. They would never have had the finances to purchase such a great unit, yet they need the extra vegetables desperately.

This partnership has really opened my eyes to all the good our organization has the opportunity to do. When I first started this journey I was only concerned with providing housing or basic needs for deserving families. But, is not good health and healthy lifestyle choices a part of our basic needs? Of course it is. Our team definitely looks forward to other opportunities we may have to help impact our receiving families make better choices, both now and in the future. This partnership is just the beginning to great things that we can do.

The old adage, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, but teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime I believe rings true here. Previously we were giving a “fish” by providing housing. But, we can do better than that. We can help them make better eating choices, better financial decisions, better life choices, the possibilities are endless and I am excited to be a part of something so great.

Are You Doing Enough Volunteering Work In Home Community?

In a world in which resources are increasingly being diverted to support conflict overseas and making large contributions to overseas aid, we run the risk of taking our eye off our domestic problems. Problems which exist in our own country, our own communities and our own neighborhoods.

If you feel that local problems are being ignored and would like to do something to make a difference then you can. Voluntary work has never fallen from fashion, and has always been proven to be of benefit even at a macro scale and it can very often demonstrate its worth at the level of the individual. The benefits for the volunteer include increased feelings of self-worth and self-respect. Some volunteer activities are centered on the voluntary provision of professional skills such as attorneys giving freely of their knowledge working on ‘pro bono’ cases, or doctors working in charitable local clinics. But what if you don’t possess professional skills to be able to donate in this way?

Ideas For Volunteering Work In The Community

Many opportunities exist for providing direct voluntary help in the community. For example, you could volunteer to do work in a local charitable hospital, perhaps working as a hospital porter, or visiting patients who have no friends or relatives living within easy traveling distance. You could volunteer to visit older people who live on their own, bringing them some support, company and doing some simple chores such as fetching groceries. If you are a DIY enthusiast you might help older or disabled people with some simple DIY tasks that they are unable to do for themselves. But what if you don’t feel that you could provide that type of direct voluntary help – serving on the front line? There are still a number of ways in which you can contribute time and effort by carrying out indirect voluntary work.

How To Raise Funds By Working From Home

The easiest, and most effective way of making indirect voluntary contributions to your local community is by fundraising. There are many ways in which you can raise money for charitable causes, at home, in your spare time, and a few of them are listed below.

Home Party Plans To Support Community Volunteers

No matter where in the country you live, you will be able to join a party plan, or Direct Sales company. Such companies provide support, business advice, business administration and inventory. All you need to do is host a party for people who live in your area, promote the company’s products and reap the financial rewards which you can then re-invest in your local community, supporting charitable projects.

In a way, it ‘squares the circle’ – local people are supporting their own communities. A variation on charity begins at home. In most cases you don’t even have to stock or deliver the items; you will hold a selection of samples, pass your orders to the company who will then fulfill those orders directly from their inventory. An easy and stress free way of raising money. Finding a niche that interests you shouldn’t be a problem. A quick glance online reveals plans to sell candles, scented oils, cards and gifts, children’s books and toys, home and kitchen items, jewelry and pet related products. If you do not want to become involved in schemes involving socializing with other people in your home, and many people do not, then there are other options some of which are outlined below.

Home Assembly Work in Support Of Volunteering Work In Home Community

There is an almost endless number of companies in home assembly that provide work using skills to suit anyone such as:

  • If you have basic sewing skills you could assemble angels, bears and similar items paying $14 for every 12 items completed.
  • Painting and gluing skills to assemble and paint plaques. This pays around $3.50 each.
  • Assembling paper and cardboard butterflies. This job requires only cutting and gluing skills.
  • Simple carpentry skills are required to make wooden three drawer jewelry boxes.
  • Scented candle making – all the materials and instructions are provided and many people may already make their own scented candles anyway.
  • Making wooden light switch covers requires only assembly and gluing skills.

It has to be said that none of these schemes will pay enough to make a reliable income, but that’s not our aim in this case. These schemes will allow you to make a little extra cash in your spare time that would otherwise go to waste and allow you to return the profits to volunteering work in home community.

In summary, if you want to get involved in volunteering work in home community in order to make a positive contribution to local causes you can, either by hosting party plan sales groups in your own home or by working alone on home assembly tasks. Either, or both, will allow you to make an indirect voluntary contribution to deserving projects in your local community.

Help Community Members in Paying Off Their Loans

There are considerate amounts of people out there who have taken on a certain loan to finance their life in difficult times. While having a loan is more common than not having one at all, it can become quite a hurdle that keeps coming back. Especially payday loans are often given to people who find it hard to pay them back. Some will find it hard to repay the loan at all. Their life’s quality takes a significant hit because of this. Help from friends and family is therefore needed. That said, also neighbors and other community members can assist as well.

Bring Community Members Together

To be able to pay off a loan the borrower has to temporarily focus on making his or her life as cost effective as possible. By doing so recurring expenses are being saved. This will altogether save up enough money to reduce and eventually close down the loan. The borrower’s direct community can assist in finding the best ways to save some budget. First of all, community members need to be informed of the existence of the borrower and the need for help. This can be done centrally at a community center, which the borrower can visit for registration.

Bring Down Expenses Together

Active community members who visit the center can read about the needed assistance in their neighborhood. Members who are specialized in saving on groceries, can get in touch and teach the borrower how to save. Since groceries are a vital part of life’s expenses it is one of the first things people focus on. Being able to cut down expenses without a setback in life’s quality can be a great first start.

Driving a car can also be costly and should be taken into account seriously. How can you change the way you drive your car, and save money? Helpful community members can reach out and offer a ride to the grocery store or mall. By driving together in a member’s car saves up gasoline that can be used to eventually pay off the borrowers loan. Social interaction between two people can be an extra element to boost the borrowers spirit. It is most important that one believes in reaching its goal: paying off the loan.

Will You Lend a Helping Hand?

There are numerous other options that fellow community members can use to aid a borrower in need. You could be of help too! Just think about your own expertise. What recurring life activity do you master when it comes to managing a budget? Your knowledge can be of use in your community right now, without you even knowing it. If you feel the urge to volunteer in your community this might be a first step. You could search the web on your specific neighborhood to find out where the nearest community center is located. It is another small and humble step to actually get out of your house to pay them a visit. You might even find yourself offering a helping hand sooner than you think.

Local Volunteers Cleanup Building Graffiti

We recently rented some medium-duty Generac brand gas power cleaners to clean up graffiti off the side of commercial buildings for the city. We payed for the rentals and then 10 volunteers performed the work over the weekend. Nine large building wall surfaces in high traffic areas were cleaned and graffiti removed. It was quite a large undertaking as we had to barricade off areas during cleaning and had to coordinate with the local council. I was the Project Manager and just wanted to share the experience on this blog.

Planning

First off we had to recognize the problem. Did the local council like the graffiti? Or was it a problem that simply was not in the budget to clean up? The first clue came when signs were put up prohibiting graffiti. At this point I simply e-mailed the local government official to talk about volunteering resources to clean it up as we were looking to provide some assistance to the local area.

Now, before I go on I just wanted to say that I realize not all graffiti is bad. Some is visually appealing and has its place. But this graffiti was profanity and raunchy images. It was vandalism. It was clearly not adding any value to these commercial buildings.

So, after a few emails back and forth we decided on dates to perform the work. The work would be performed on a long weekend to ensure it could be completed in one go with minimal interference to the working population. We decided on the safety precautions: barricading off the area and using either telescoping wands or elevated working platforms.

After the dates were locked in I called the local rental shop and booked in 5 hot water style power cleaners that had enough PSI and flow rate to clean large surfaces quickly. I booked 5 only because we needed 2 people per elevated work platform to act as a spotter. Then I rang and booked in the 5 work platforms and the required barricading materials.

Execution

I held a meeting the morning the work was to start to ensure the volunteers were aware of the safety issues and the scope of the job. Keep in mind pictures and emails were exchanged previous and all the volunteers had previous pressure washing experience and experience using aerial work platforms.

After the meeting we broke into teams of two and drove to the individual work sites. The barricading was set up and work began. We used special graffiti removal detergent on the wall and then let it sit for a few minutes before washing it away. The graffiti proved more difficult to remove than previously thought but the issue was solved by letting the detergent sit on the surface for a longer period of time.

Given there were 5 teams of 2 we figured we could get 15 buildings completed over the weekend (1 per day per team over the 3 day weekend). That might not sound like much but we’re talking warehouse sized two-story buildings covered in graffiti. Anyways, we ended up getting 9 done. They were refreshed and sparkly clean.

Review

Even though only 9 of the planned 15 building were cleaned the project was largely a success. The pressure cleaners worked magically and no people were injured and no property damaged. What more could you ask for?

It was great to see local volunteers cleaning their local community. This is why we do the philanthropy!

Documenting Your Volunteering Experience

Volunteering can be a life changing experience. Your outlook towards life can change after spending time working with less fortunate individuals. You may experience things that alter your character for the better. It is a wonderful idea to document your volunteering experiences so you can reflect on your journey and share it with other volunteers.

Using a diary or journal

The most simplest way to document your volunteering work is to keep a diary or journal. After you’ve completed your volunteering work, take some time at the end of the day to write down your experiences and the work that you’ve done to help the community.

Blogging

If you are the type of person that likes to share their experiences, you can use blogging platforms to document your volunteering work. There are many different types of online blogging platforms available to you. There’s WordPress, blog spot, blogger, and many other free blogging platforms that you can use. These blogs are published online so you can share your experiences with your family, friends, and other people who are interested. Most blogs are about peoples personal experiences and views on life. You can write about your own volunteering work and the experiences that you are going through.

Most online blogging platforms have features built into them that notifies your followers whenever you update your blog. There are also features that notifies your followers by email whenever there is new activity on your blog.

Social Networks

Almost everyone nowadays utilizes some form of social media. Why not use your social media network to document your volunteer work. You can keep your friends and family updated through social networks like Facebook, twitter, Myspace, etc. You could even start a fan page on Facebook about your volunteering group. Update your activities on these social networking sites whenever you like and start sharing with your friends, family, and people around the world. In addition to posts, you can also upload photos and videos of your experiences. There are also applications that lets people know your exact location when you are making the updates.

Photo Sharing

If you know how to work a camera, then you can use photos to document your volunteering journey. Photos can tell a story of their own and you may pick up things that you didn’t notice before with your eyes. You can utilize photo sharing sites like Flikr, Picasa, shutterfly, photobucket, and Facebook to share your photos with others. You can use a standard digital camera, or a DSLR camera; if you want better quality.

Video Sharing

You can document your experiences with video as well. You can then share your video on video sharing sites like Youtube and Vimeo. This lets other people view your experiences and see what you are doing with your volunteer work. Many modern video cameras have sharing functions built-in to make it easier for you to share. An interesting way to capture video is to use spy camera glasses. With camera glasses, you get a first person point of view, so viewers will be able to see first hand your volunteering work. It also frees up your hands, so you can still participate in your volunteer work. There are many different video camera glasses; the most popular ones being the pivothead camera glasses and iVUE.

Online Forums

You can share your volunteering abroad experiences with others through popular online forums. Forums are a great way to meet other volunteers and travelers. They offer support and networking. You can use these forums to keep in touch with like minded individuals that share the same passion for philanthropy and volunteer work. Popular forums include; boomersabroad.com, traveldudes.com, travelblogexchange.com, lonelyplanet.com and many others.

There are so many ways to document your volunteering experiences. You can choose multiple methods or just one that suits you the most. Documenting and sharing your volunteering experience may also inspire others. Good luck and start documenting!

My Contribution to Habitat for Humanity

In my younger days, I was blessed with both the strong will and the strong back to participate in community volunteer work, or at least so I thought. As a scruffy-haired idealist of barely 21, I took a summer off from my restaurant job and traveled to Mobile, Alabama to participate in the Habitat for Humanity program. I didn’t have any construction experience, but I fudged my application and scored a reference from my uncle Richard, who is a first-class carpenter. Uncle Richard didn’t have any faith in my ability on a job site, nor did he particularly care for liberal social programs, but he thought a little hard work would do me some good.

I arrived in Mobile in May of 1991, armed with little more than ambition and Uncle Richard’s letter of reference. The heat was sweltering. I was in no way prepared for it. I was immediately placed in a two-week training course to go over the basic job requirements and safety considerations. I’m quite certain that it was immediately apparent to my trainers that I had lied about my experience. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and it was impossible to fake. No one ever gave me a hard time, but there is no way that they weren’t on to me. I suppose that because I was volunteering, they chose to take it easy on me.

About a week into the training, the heat was starting to get the best of me. I had found a local watering hole in the nearby town of Theodore, and had been spending my evenings drinking there with some of my fellow trainees. The staff had become friendly with us, and it was increasingly difficult to get out of there without getting inebriated. On one particularly hot and hungover afternoon, I collapsed on the job site. In spite of my protests, I was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Mobile. The next day I was released from the Habitat for Humanity program for reasons of poor health.

I was distressed with this development. I didn’t want to go home and face my family in failure. I hadn’t even made it through the training process. After considering my finances over a few drinks at the aforementioned establishment, I decided to stay in Mobile for the summer.

I naïvely explained my dilemma to Dale, a bartender I had gotten to know. He had a great laugh at my expense. It was exactly the kind of thing I was trying to avoid by not going home. Then he made an interesting proposal. It sounded to Dale like they needed someone to serve drinks at the Habitat site. At first I thought he meant alcohol, but he gruffly explained that he meant hydrating liquids to keep fools like me from falling out. I liked his idea, and I needed a job. We discussed it over more cocktails. At first, we were talking about a cooler with water and sodas. As the discussion continued, the plan became grander.

The next morning, Dale and I went to the Habitat site with a cooler full of ice, yogurt and fruit; a rental tent, and a Vitamix blender. We mixed some tasty strawberry smoothies for everyone on the job. I got a surprise when I asked Dale what we should charge for them. He briskly informed me that we wouldn’t be charging the volunteers anything, because it would be wrong to do so. “Besides,” he added, “it’s good advertising for the bar.”

Turn Hobbies into Volunteer Opportunities

If you’re like most people, you are extremely busy with work, friends, family and hobbies. Your time is extremely valuable and I’m sure you wish you had more of it. Volunteering is not something most people make time for. If they do, they make it a lower priority item and it’s usually the first activity to get bumped off the list.

Despite the fact that most people don’t take to time to volunteer, there are still many people that do volunteer and they love it. Very few people volunteer for an event and regret the decision afterwards. Volunteering makes you feel good about yourself, it helps others in need, and it allows you to meet new and amazing people.

Some people want to do more to help others but they don’t know where to start. The best advice that I have is to find a hobby you’re interested in, find an organization in that area and check their website to see if they run any events or have a volunteer event page. There are also many general volunteer websites like volunteermatch.com and globalvolunteernetwork.org. Here are three common hobbies and some general ideas for volunteering in each one.

Outdoors

Many people enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s fishing, hunting, camping, or just being outside, there are many great things about exploring nature and seeing the natural world. Someone interested in volunteering might want to check out their state’s DNR or Game and Fish website to find fun and interesting opportunities. For example, the state of Minnesota has a “Take a Kid Fishing” day that allows adults to take youths fishing. This would be a great opportunity for individuals to teach the joys of bass, catfish and bluegill fishing.

Sports

Sports are another area that many people have a great passion for. Many people grew up with the opportunity to learn a sport like basketball, baseball, football, or running. A great opportunity as an adult is to volunteer with the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics hosts numerous events in every state and is constantly in need of extra help. Opportunities include: coaching, refereeing, setting up events, and many more things.

Pets

Over sixty percent of U.S. households own at least one pet. Dogs, cats, birds, fish and so many other animals are popular in the home. There are so many organizations and opportunities to volunteer in regard to animals that a full article or even book could be written on them. One of the more unique opportunities is with a non-profit organization called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The program is aimed at providing pet food to households that can’t afford it. While it might not involve organic cat food or premium dog food, it does provide struggling households with the pet food they need to keep their pet in their home and not in a shelter. Opportunities exist to deliver foods to the needy.