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May 21, 2014

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I myself have never tried volunteering but one of my cousins do it whenever she can. She started signing up as a volunteer during high school and continued doing so during college. I asked her why she kept doing it and she said it's really fun to help others and meet new people in the process. It also helped her build up her resume. :)

I'd like to volunteer in a way that makes sense - i.e., on a nonprofit board, but I don't even know how to approach it, especially since, like you, I've recently moved to a new city. I have a fairly important job and a professional degree, so I think I'd be useful on a board, but how do I go about soliciting a position? It's almost silly to say, but that's what holds me back. I'd be interested to hear how people get involved at a higher level.

I like the idea of volunteering to fill in gaps in your work history. It shows that you were still staying active and relevant instead of just sitting on the couch watching TV. Plus, you might actually meet a contact that could help lead you to a new job.

My prior job was generally somewhat related to the kind of next job I was looking for, but I know that doing volunteer work in the specific area helped make me a more convincing candidate.

...although, I should say, if you're doing volunteer work *strictly* for careerist reasons, it'll probably show and make you less than popular. I was fortunate in that I genuinely supported the cause in question.

b -

I think the best way to get involved is by networking. Find out if there are non-profit organizations in your city. See what churches are involved in. Ask to buy lunch for a few heads of charities and see what they can share (They'll probably know everyone in town.)

Also, the Salvation Army ALWAYS needs help and is in every city.

My volunteering had nothing at all to do with my work or occupation. However I used to have an enjoyable time when my son was young by volunteering in activities involving his baseball and football games & practices.

Naturally, since I grew up in England and since they don't play either sport over there I confined my activities to such things as helping out at the weekly bingo games that raised a lot of money for uniforms & equipment. I also served on the board of directors, often handled the announcer and linesman duties at games and generally helped the coaches as much as possible. It was also a great opportunity to bond with my son and learn a lot about two new sports.

I'm available to volunteer.

I want to volunteer in Indianapolis, but i do not know how to start. I have arthritis but am willing to work to help out any way i can. Lost my job in August and i am ready to work or volunteer in capacity.

I would like to do some voluntering, but I am 70 years and diabetic and must walk with a cane, but other than that, I am healthy. I am tired of sitting in front of the TV and I am sure I could be of some help that could use me. I just don't know where to go to offer my help.

Beth and Kona, contact your local arthritis, diabetes, or cancer society. They often have information desks that need volunteers.

I'm on the board and am an officer (currently secretary, but formerly president, in December I will step down completely) of a nonprofit, (a club of people with a similar interest) and I'm a member of a couple of other nonprofits. (volunteer rescue squads)

How about the following:

1) Show up to their board meetings and event planning, get to know them, and offer to pitch in. Many organizations are run mostly by volunteers, and volunteers who are willing to log hours making the organizations events happen are appreciated. Convince others to pitch in, too. When you show up to help, five people show up with you and the job gets done? You're a good candidate for the board. The main problem I have with the one nonprofit on whose board I sit: Half of the board and and handful of volunteers who have no interest in sitting on the board (or have already done so and don't want to do so anymore) do 90% of our work. If we could replace the 'dead weight' of people whose total contribution is to sit at board meetings and NOT volunteer for any tasks with folks who were motivated to help out, we definitely would.

2) Demonstrate you have connections that will enable the charity to raise money. Retired executives, doctors, lawyers or their non-working spouses make great board members. One of our first board members got a donation for us that was about 5 times our yearly budget in our first year of operation. He's no longer on the board (stepped down because he was tired of it) but I assure you he's welcome back any time he wants to return.

Don't tell the organization you want to sit on their board. Tell them you want to help out, and then do so until it's clear you belong on the board. That said, we have several volunteers (I am one myself for the rescue squads I'm on) who just want to help out and have no desire to ever serve on the board or as an officer. You can grow your career through volunteerism without being 'in charge'. Or you can choose to go good for its own sake without concern for whether it will help your career.

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