Friday, January 20, 2012
Finding volunteer opportunities that fit you
It can take trial and error and time to find volunteer opportunities that fit who you are and what you want from the experience.
Around four years ago I started volunteering at book sales held by the Friends of the Library at the branch I use. As I cut back on my work hours I got more involved by being Membership chair and by helping to sort donated books. I went to a grant writing workshop as the group's representative. Last week I was elected President. Why do I spend my time on this? I love to read, I believe strongly in the mission of libraries, and the other volunteers are fun, nice and interesting. Its turned out to be a good fit for me.
This year I wanted to add another volunteer commitment. The question for me was if I seek out volunteer activities that address problems in the world that I dearly wish were solved or do I pursue those that hit the "sweet spot" of my lifelong interests and provide a "fun" quotient? The answer for me was that I would continue to donate money to address big problems in the world (e.g. hunger and sustainable development) but I wanted to volunteer time for something that fit my ongoing personal interests, had potential for fun and fit my ever changing part time consulting schedule. Once I decided that was what I wanted, the perfect opportunity popped up - be a chef demo volunteer assistant (officially an Outdoor Kitchen Resource Assistant) at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I met with the volunteer coordinator today and am happy with my decision. Training is in April and then I commit to volunteering twice a month May - October and sign up for the days and times that fit my schedule. I'm really looking forward to this experience which builds on their edible garden section and highlights cooking with foods that are in season.
How have you selected volunteer opportunities? What is holding you back if you are wanting to volunteer but haven't yet taken that step?