How to find the right volunteer jobs for you

There are endless benefits to donating your free time volunteering at a non-profit agency — whether it’s helping children, animals, veterans, hospice patients or the environment.

You can build networking contacts, gain work experience to add to your resume, learn a new skill or teach a skill to someone else, build self-esteem and meet new people, according to United Way Worldwide.

Sometimes the hardest part of volunteer work is finding the right opportunity for you. Choose an area of interest and identify an organization you believe is meaningful.

United Way Worldwide — a network of nearly 1,800 community-based United Ways in 41 countries and territories — offers these tips for starting out on a volunteer path.

Search For Existing Opportunities

Depending on your available time, skill set and interests, there are many different kinds of volunteer opportunities to consider. United Way makes it easy for you to find volunteer reading, tutoring or mentoring opportunities directly from its website.

Just start by entering your zip code.

You’ll likely have to fill out a volunteer application, go through a short interview and submit to a background check, depending on the population you want to help serve.

Create Your Own Opportunity

Can’t find an option that works for you? You can still take action and make a difference in your area of interest.

United Way Worldwide suggests options such as:

  • Volunteer to start a school clean-up and beautification campaign to create a positive learning environment for students;
  • Spend time as a reader at a local childcare center;
  • School attendance is a good predictor of a child’s success. Start an attendance incentive campaign in your neighborhood; or
  • Host a regular book drive for children and youth.