As the world starts opening up again, we are seeing a ramp up in our company Social Purpose activities. You may find yourself wanting to give back to your community now, but might not be sure where to start. In the very first issue of Spotlight we highlighted some of the many benefits of volunteering. Those of us who volunteer can tell you what a great feeling of purpose and accomplishment it provides. Additionally, volunteering is a great way to develop your skills, expand your experience and even get references to help you advance to the next level in your career.
One of the first places to start is by identifying what you are passionate about. Following your interests and skills is a great way to begin, and there are lots of helpful online resources to help you find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you.
Idealist is a helpful one-stop place to start, as it aggregates a wide range of volunteer opportunities from sites including VolunteerMatch, Points of Light, DoSomething and AARP.
You can set your search parameters for On-Site, Remote or All, in any location of your choosing – U.S. and Canada. You can also filter by “Issue Area,” – everything from agriculture, children and youth, climate change, communication access, consumer protection, disability, economic development, housing and homelessness, hunger and food security, mental health, race and ethnicity and so much more. The topics are almost endless. From there you will identify the Opportunity Type you are interested in, volunteering, events, etc. Choose your dates, skills you can contribute or would like to hone, and finally, your language. Then you will be matched with a variety of opportunities. You can also search based solely on skills, so let’s say you love to cook, enter Cooking in the search box and you’ll be presented with lots of opportunities to flex your culinary skills. Learn more at idealist.org.
Catchafire lists hundreds of volunteer projects for every skill, time commitment and cause area imaginable. This is a great resource if you are interested longer term projects or projects that provide an opportunity to share your professional skills. This site attracts people with a wide range of backgrounds and experience, from college students to retirees and everything in between.
A volunteer project on Catchafire averages $5,000 in value of professional services to the nonprofit, allowing them to invest savings back into important programs and community services.
Browse opportunities based on cause area, skill set and time commitment. Opportunities range from one hour to three months. Check it out here Catchafire.org.
Beginning by identifying things you are passionate about is a great start. For example, if you enjoy gardening, here are some ideas from nutrientsforlife.org:
If you love to cook consider becoming a volunteer chef with Lasagna Love. Lasagna Love is a U.S. grassroots movement made up of 20,000 volunteers that aims to positively impact communities by connecting neighbors with neighbors through homemade meal delivery. It also seeks to eliminate stigmas associated with asking for help when it is needed most. The organization was started at the beginning of the pandemic when its founder was looking for a way to help moms in her community. Those struggling — whether their struggle is financial, emotional, physical or simply feeling overwhelmed — may request a lasagna delivery each month. The organization matches those requesting a meal with volunteers in their community. Lasagna Love is currently serving 50 U.S. states, and volunteers deliver 3,500 meals a week.
Our Brands/companies will be adding more and more opportunities to our newly launched Event Calendar, so please continue to check back for activities that interest you! While each of our companies has its own dedicated landing page with its own events, you can also search ALL activities by selecting ALL EVENTS in the upper left filtering box.As you seek out opportunities that interest you, you may find some that would be of interest to your colleagues too. Your company’s Social Purpose champions are always looking for ideas to #FirstServeOthers so be sure to communicate your activities to them. And as always, if you share your activities on your social media channels, don’t forget to tag them #FirstServeOthers.