Volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s not always easy to know what to do (or not do) when you’re volunteering. Whether you’re a first-time volunteer or someone who’s been doing it for years, this guide will help you make the most of your time and energy.

Do Find a Cause You’re Passionate About

Find volunteer work that is in line with your personal values and beliefs. Being a volunteer is about more than just giving your time and energy — it’s also about building relationships and connections with like-minded people who share your values. Find a cause that will allow you to make an impact in your community!

Do Commit Time to Volunteer Regularly

If you can only spare an hour or two every month, that’s okay—just be sure to let the organization know in advance so they can plan accordingly. If something comes up and you can’t make it to your shift, let the organization know as soon as possible. They’ll understand, and will have an opportunity to cover for you.

Do Research the Organization

Prior to volunteering, research the charity or organization. Ensure its mission, values, and goals align with your own and that you will be able to follow through on your commitment. It’s also important to be aware of any possible risks involved in volunteering, such as working with vulnerable populations or traveling to dangerous areas.

Do Be Patient and Flexible

  • Be patient with yourself. It takes time to learn new things and get comfortable with new roles.
  • Be patient with others. Not everyone may share your excitement and could be slower or make mistakes.
  • Be flexible. Things always don’t go according to plan, so it’s important to be able to roll with the punches and adapt as needed.

Stay Active

When volunteering, don’t just sit around and wait for tasks to come your way; go out and find them yourself! As the old saying goes, “the best way to find a job is to create one.” And that’s exactly what you should do as a volunteer: get creative and be proactive in finding ways to help out. There are plenty of opportunities out there, so don’t be afraid to ask around or explore new avenues.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

When you’re a new volunteer, it can be tempting to just want to dive in and start helping out. But before you do, there will be things you need to know. And the best way to learn is by asking questions! Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t understand something or need clarification. Lastly, remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. As long as you’re willing to learn from them. So ask lots of questions and get ready to make a difference!

Example Volunteer Roles

  • Board Director
  • Event Coordinator
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Program Assistant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Advisor
  • General Help