Consider your goals and interests
You will have a richer and more enjoyable volunteering experience if you first take some time to identify your goals and interests. Start by thinking about why you want to volunteer. Also think about what you would enjoy doing. Volunteer opportunities that match both your goals and your interests are most likely to be fun and fulfilling for you.
Source: World Volunteer Web
Tips for getting started
First, ask yourself if there is something specific you want to do. For example, do I want to ...
- make it better around where I live?
- meet people who are different from me?
- try something new?
- do something with my spare time?
- see a different way of life and new places?
- have a go at the type of work I might want to do as a full-time job?
- do more with my interests and hobbies?
- do something I'm good at?
The best way to volunteer is to match your personality and interests. Having answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search.
How to find the right volunteer opportunity?
There are numerous volunteer opportunities available. The key is to find a volunteer position that you would enjoy and are capable of doing. It's also important to make sure that your commitment matches the organisation's needs. The following questions can help you narrow your options:
- Would you like to work with people or would you rather work in solitude?
- are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer to take a more visible role?
- How much time are you willing to commit?
- How much responsibility are you willing to take on?
- What skills can you bring to a volunteer job?
- What causes are important to you?
Is there more than one right opportunity?
In your search for the right volunteer opportunity, don't limit yourself to just one organisation or one specific type of job. Sometimes an opportunity looks great on paper, but the reality is quite different. Try to visit different organisations and get a feel for what they are like and if you click with other staff and volunteers. The more satisfaction you have as a volunteer, the better your contributions and the more likely you'll continue.
Where do I find volunteer opportunities?
Macquarie University has already developed volunteer packages with organisations, which can be found here. If these do not suit your interests, please see the below lists for further suggestions:
- Community theatres, museums, and monuments
- Libraries or senior centres
- Service organisations such as Lions or Rotary clubs
- Youth organisations, sports teams, and after-school programs
- Historical restorations and national parks
- Places of worship, such as churches or synagogues
- Online databases
The Sustainability Team out the front of the Sydney Dog and Cat Shelter for their volunteer day.