23 May 2014

3 Ways to Choose A Volunteer Organization

Feeling charitable? The good news is that there are thousands of nonprofits throughout the world who'd love your help. The bad news is that all these choices can be paralyzing! If you need help narrowing things down, here are just a few criteria for choosing a good volunteer organization.

1: Pick A Focus Area

If you're thinking of volunteering, you probably already have a cause in mind. But things like "hunger" and "homelessness" are broad categories that are very easy to get lost in, especially if you're a first-timer, so try to focus your search on one problem in particular. For example, if you want to work with the poor, you can look for opportunities with disadvantaged youth or low-income housing projects.

2: Know Your Nonprofits

Familiarize yourself with the big charities that lead the industry in which you want to volunteer. If you're hoping to save the gorillas, you should know about In Defense of Animals; if you're interested in third-world disaster relief, educate yourself on the Red Cross.

3: Read Volunteer Reviews

Once you've found a promising organization, take the time to make sure they're as legitimate as they claim. What do others have to say about their experience with them? How many volunteers come back for a second or third time? How much of a difference did they really make?

Use these tips to find a worthwhile charity or volunteer organization. The possibilities may be overwhelming at first, but remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!