Choosing a Volunteer Job

The Choices Are Endless

Choosing a Volunteer Experience

You might be thinking of volunteering. Where to start? There are basically two roads. You can do what you already do well or

  Mary Colacurci and Carol Weisman are both experienced fundraisers who volunteer their time in East Africa with the Africa Health and Hospital Foundation

you can do something completely different. You might want to start by deciding how much time you have to put into your volunteering. If you choose something you already do well, with no additional training, you can hit the ground running. If you choose something that has a steep learning curve, you need a lot more time to devote to your volunteer activities.
The kind of activities that take a lot of time are pursuits that require a certificate or license that you don’t already have such as advanced life saving, or you might need to learn a system or a field you don’t know much about such as the regulatory ins and outs of running a credit union or a field such as governance or fundraising.  If you are already a carpenter or a nurse and volunteer in that capacity, you are good to go.

The types of work people do as volunteers are as varied as the work people do any day anywhere. They include:

  • Running a multimillion dollar hospital
  • Milking cows
  • Running a fork lift
  • Cycling cross country as a fundraiser
  • Teaching breast cancer patients to put on make-up
  • Litigating a class action suit
  • Conducting a choir
  • Caring for a terminally ill dog at home
  • Writing a position paper for print or digital publication
  • Taking a classroom of kids to a museum
  • Wielding a scalpel, a protractor or a golf club
  • Piloting a plane with meds, patients or agricultural  supplies
  • Serving a hot meal to a homeless family
  • Reading a book to a pre-school class
  • Speaking to hundreds or thousands about a cause
  • Translating at a hospital for a patient who doesn’t speak English
  • Creating a Facebook page
  • Selling popcorn at a summer concert
  • Calling a current donor and thanking them for their donation
  • Rocking a newborn baby
  • Creating a strategic plan for a social venture
  • Chairing a glittering gala
  • Clearing a field of mines
  • Lobbying a legislator
  • Playing the guitar
  • Performing an audit
  • Building a ramp for a home
  • Walking a fussy baby
  • Writing a business plan for a new nonprofit, a small business, a micro-banking venture or other entrepreneurial financial ventures
  • Designing an invitation for an event
  • Educating a legislator

My friend Susan Ellis says, "The work 'volunteer' describes  pay category, not a position." What appeals? Using well honed skills or creating new? There is no wrong answer.

I need Carol to