How to find the right volunteer opportunity

If you’re looking to give back this holiday season, we have done some research to help get you started. There are so many ways to get involved that it can get a little overwhelming deciding where to invest your time and energy. Thankfully, there are several websites offering personalized recommendations of where your talents are needed most. Here are some of our favorites:

 

Finding the Right Match

Volunteer Match is like a dating site for volunteer work — it uses the information you provide to match you with highly customized service opportunities in your community. Here’s how it works:

  • First you designate your causes, choosing as many as you want from a list of 29 different options like Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Home & Housing, and Environment.
  • Once you have chosen your causes, you update a list of skills. Under each of the 28 categories listed, you can mark your specialties or interests, including things like ESL training in the Education section, love of baseball in the Sports & Recreation section, or cosmetology experience in the Trades section. We recommend taking the time to complete this section — the more information you provide, the more likely it is you’ll be sent opportunities that you will actually want to do.
  • Finally, you provide the site with your email preferences. You put in your zip code and let them know how far you’re willing to travel. You can specify anywhere from 5 miles to the whole state if you’re so inclined. You can mark if you’re interested in events that allow kids, teens, groups or virtual service. Lastly, you can decide how often you want to receive emails about new opportunities.

 Once you have set your preferences, Volunteer Match will compile personalized recommendations based upon your interests. You can sign up for each of these with the click of a button. Here is just a taste of the projects you could find in the Goodyear area:

  • If you enjoy taking leadership roles and love variety in your volunteer work, HandsOn Greater Phoenix is looking for volunteer leaders across the valley for projects involving children, veterans, senior and animals.
  • Love animals? Volunteer as a Kitty Cuddler with Help Animals Live On.
  • Only have an hour a week? The Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care Center needs volunteers to sit with their patients once a week.

For more information on other great projects, please visit www.VolunteerMatch.org.

Plenty of Options

Each volunteer website will connect you with different service opportunities, so if you’re not finding what you’re hoping for with Volunteer Match, here are some other great websites to get you started:

  • Idealist: Something that sets this website apart is that it allows you to also search for available jobs and internships in nonprofit work, for those hoping to make it a career. For more information, please visit: www.Idealist.org.
  • HandsOn Network: A great feature of this group is that they can help your company set up a customized employee volunteer program which enables your organization to become engaged in philanthropy. For more information, please visit: www.HandsOnNetwork.org
  • Just Serve: Not only are there great volunteer options on this site, but they also maintain a “Success Stories” section, so you can see how the different projects are making an impact in the community. For more information, please visit: www.JustServe.org 

A Local Option

A local opportunity we have embraced as a community each year is the City of Goodyear’s Fill-A-Need program. The holiday drive works to brighten the season by providing gifts for children of less fortunate families in Goodyear and the surrounding areas. We support the program by collecting items here in Estrella. Residents are encouraged to drop off new, unwrapped toys, clothing and school supplies for children 17 and under at The City of Goodyear - City Hall lobby at 190 N. Litchfield Road now through December 5, 2016. For more information and to get involved, please call the City of Goodyear Fill-A-Need program at 623-882-7081 or visit www.ci.goodyear.az.us.

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