Ten Simple Ways to Serve Your Local Community
Many people find themselves wanting to serve the community but have no idea where to begin. Most working professionals have had some experience with volunteering or community involvement in the past whether it is with a service club or a school organization. Once you enter the workforce full time it seems harder to become engaged in your community because of all the factors pulling for our time. Whether it’s family, friends, children, or any other personal involvement or commitment we have, it just seems like being an active citizen is harder than we thought it would be.
Luckily there are REALLY SIMPLE ways to get involved in your community right now that will allow you to start making a difference. Every one of us has a skill or past experience that can benefit a nonprofit organization or the community as a whole. Below you can find ten simple ways to take your skills and serve your local community!
- Volunteer at a local event. Summer is the season for outdoor philanthropy events supporting a variety of causes. Helping out for 2 hours at an event will make you feel like you’ve made a difference and it will help a nonprofit spread their message and raise funds.
- Find a recurring volunteer opportunity. If you’re like me, you hate having to set up a new volunteer opportunity every single time you want to give back to your community. There are numerous organizations with volunteer opportunities that allow you to set your own schedule and give back when you can. Volunteering for one organization or cause allows you to build your skills and resume over time.
- Serve on a Board of Directors. If you’re interested in using your skills to help grow an organization then serving on a nonprofit Board of Directors might be for you. Every nonprofit is overseen by a Board of Directors made up of individuals from the community. Most nonprofits are continually seeking people to serve on their board because boards are always turning over due to term limits. If you’re passionate about an organization in your community and you think you could be a beneficial board member, reach out to their Executive Director and ask them how you can get involved.
- Become a Donor! Making a financial contribution to a nonprofit is an extremely rewarding experience. There are thousands of nonprofits in every community and they all rely solely on grants and donations in order to succeed. You can make a profound impact in your community by finding an organization you believe in and donating to them in whatever way you deem appropriate. Successful societies are developed from successful nonprofits that serve the communities most valuable citizens. Donating can go beyond money to things like donating food to a local pantry or clothing and hygiene items to a local shelter. Find the way you like to give back and make it a habit!
- Become a Skills Based Volunteer. Do you want to get involved in the community and use the special skills and knowledge that you have? Becoming a skills based volunteer can be a great way to volunteer on your own schedule but also give back in a big way to a nonprofit. Becoming a skills based volunteer will require more work when trying to find an organization to volunteer for because most nonprofits don’t specifically list that they are looking for X skill in a volunteer. This allows you to find an organization that you’re passionate about and connect with them personally to let them know how you can help them grow.
- Get Involved! Join a volunteer group like Kiwanis or Rotary, a Young Professional Network; attend a Happy Hour sponsored by your local Chamber of Commerce. If you want to give back and serve your community but don’t know where to begin, getting involved will introduce you to new people who can help you get started.
- Informal Volunteering is Volunteering! 68.9% of North Dakota residents said they informally volunteered in 2013. The Corporation for National and Community Service says that informal volunteering is all the little things we do for others like doing a favor for a neighbor. Whenever you help someone else in the community out of the kindness of your heart you are volunteering your time. If you don’t want to commit to a long term volunteer opportunity, informal volunteering is a great way to give back and help others.
- Introduce a child to volunteerism. We all know that volunteering builds safer and stronger communities. By finding a volunteer opportunity that you can bring a young person to, you are introducing them to the concept of giving back. No matter what industry someone plans to work in they should always be thinking about how they can give back and improve their community. Many nonprofits love working with children. It’s up to you to find the right opportunity to match the child’s personality!
- Promote giving back at work. Getting your company and fellow employees excited about volunteering or donating is a great way to improve team work and increase job satisfaction. Volunteering as a group of employees also makes your company look great in the community. I’m sure your marketing department would love to document your involvement and volunteer activity!
- Become a mentor. There are many ways that you can become a mentor in your community. You can mentor youth through your local Big Brother Big Sister organization. You can mentor those with disabilities in your community. You could adopt a grandma or grandpa so that they have a caring person in their life. You could also mentor a local nonprofit Executive Director if you have extensive business knowledge that would be valuable information to pass on.
These are ten simple things that you can do to give back to the community. If you’re struggling to find volunteer opportunities you can check out the website links below to help you get started. You can also contact your local volunteer center to find out how to give back. If you’re in North Dakota you can contact FirstLink to find out more information about volunteering!
Get involved. Get engaged. Make a difference!