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How to Volunteer for a Good Cause

You want to give back, but how… and where… and to whom? Put a little time and thought into deciding which cause to volunteer for, and everyone will reap the benefits.


  • Step 1: Figure out time you can devote Figure out how much time you realistically can devote. Do you want a volunteer job with flexibility, like working at a soup kitchen, or can you commit to something long term, like becoming a Big Brother?
  • Step 2: Decide what you're wiling to do Decide what you are willing to do—and not do—as a volunteer. Helping out at an animal shelter sounds fun, but would you clean up after a dog?
  • Step 3: Evaluate your skills & talents Evaluate your skills and talents. Are you patient enough to work with children or old people? Do you have computer expertise that would benefit a nonprofit organization?
  • Step 4: Check out organizations Now that you have an idea of what kind of volunteer job you’d like, check out organizations in your area. There also are websites that match volunteers to gigs.
  • Step 5: Contact places that interest you Contact the places that interest you. Let them know up front what you can and cannot do in terms of time commitment and job duties.
  • TIP: Visit the place in person and spend some time helping out on a trial basis.
  • Step 6: Make a commitment When you find a good fit, make a commitment. Don't make it an indefinite amount of time; agree to a time frame you can honor.
  • FACT: The average American spends 50 hours every year doing volunteer work at an average monetary value of $17.55 per hour.

You Will Need

  • Some free time
  • An honest appraisal of what you will and will not do
  • Compassion

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