“I’ve never had so much fun doing so much good!” a lady said as she thanked me for providing an opportunity for her to volunteer. “I’ve had a lot of fun before, but I wasn’t necessarily being good. This is a blast!”

I have spent a great deal of my professional life working with volunteers. Whether its grabbing a buddy to replace windows on a widow’s house, organizing 125 people to build a house in a day, or empowering tens of thousands of volunteers to package meals for starving people, I am more passionate than ever to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities.

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Here are few things volunteering does:

  • Provides individuals with greater satisfaction and meaning in their lives
  • Strengthens families and provides unique memory-makers
  • Helps employees learn to work better as a team
  • Unites a community around a cause
  • Levels the socio-economic playing field as we learn to serve others
  • Do good things that would go un-done unless volunteers did it

I have also had my share of horrible volunteer experiences, so I’ve come up with a few things to think about before you volunteer. It will ensure a meaningful engagement that will produce lasting impact instead of wasting your time.

  • Determine how much time are you willing to give
    • Short-term
    • Long-term
  • Ask if there in any training required
  • Make a list of skills can you offer
    • Choose what professional skills you have that would be of most value
    • Determine which of your hobbies or recreation ideas could be of use
      • List your hobbies then look for ways to use them
      • List your recreational activities and look for ways to use them
  • Choose an organization that fits your passions and interests
  • Let the organization know if you are interested in a leadership role
  • Look for opportunities to share your knowledge
    • Pass on your skills to people within the organization
    • Pass on your knowledge to other volunteers
  • Take as many people as you can with you
    • Volunteering with others is much more enjoyable than doing it alone
  • Tell everyone you can about your experience
    • You’re not bragging about being a volunteer, you’re marketing for the organization
    • Write a blog about it on your own blog, or see if the org would like to use your blog
    • Tweet about it
    • Take photos and add them to your Facebook or Pinterest
    • Add it to your skills on Linkedin

The old philosopher Aristotle said that real pleasure is a by-product of virtuous activity.  In other words, “You will have so much fun doing so much good!”

There is great pleasure waiting for you as you volunteer!  Check out volunteer opportunities in your state and if you live in Kansas, then the premiere place to find places to volunteer, or request volunteers for your organization, is Volunteer Kansas.  You can also email them at:  Contact@volunteerkansas.org

What has been your worst or best volunteer experience? I’d love to know! I’m writing an eBook about volunteering and would love your input.

Is there anything you would add to my list?

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