Choosing a Position
Do I want a temporary position or an ongoing commitment?
This is one of the first questions you will probably want to ask yourself. Whether you are starting to volunteer for the first time or adding a fourth volunteer commitment to your plate, there are a variety of factors to consider. You first have to find out what type of commitment is involved with each role, following that you need to decide if it is something you can take on.
It is important to keep in mind that if one position is temporary, it may require a lot more time over the span of two days than what a permanent volunteer position would require of you over an entire month.
It is also important to let the organization know up front, in addition to the hours you are available, the time you can commit to being a volunteer. For example, many students move out of town for the spring semester and are unable to volunteer during this time.
How much time do you have?
The amount of time you commit to a volunteer position is another important factor that should be considered before committing to anything. It is always better to promise a little bit less and give yourself room to do more if you are confident as time goes on, rather than over promise and under deliver or cause extra stress by over-exerting yourself. It may be a great idea to start off small and slowly build onto what you do! That way you can ease into managing your time better and familiarizing yourself with that particular role.
What type of role would you like to have? What kind of work do you want to do?
A great option to explore is to see what is available for you to apply for or finding comprehensive volunteer positions. There is are a variety of aspects to consider such as considering leadership roles, working with people, positions requiring strong customer service skills, and the list goes on!
After that, think about the exact task you will be doing. Will you be preparing breakfast for a large group of people? Do you have to sit at a desk and do some paperwork? If there is a task you absolutely cannot stand you may want to consider looking at a different organization, event, or role! However, it is also essential to have an open mind and explore new opportunities outside your comfort zone - broaden your experiences with volunteering!
What types of organizations do you want to be involved with?
For this, the questions you should be asking yourself is what type of atmosphere will this bring and is this an area you want to explore more. Would you like to be involved with groups on or off campus? Sports groups or a resource center? Do you want to work somewhere that runs programs primarily for children? Fast pace or something that’s more relaxed? These questions and more are the types of ideas you should be thinking about. There is something for everyone! Check out our Short-term or Long-term volunteer posting pages for more info!
Where to from here?
Like many regular paid jobs, within volunteer organizations, there are opportunities to “move on up” and hold a more involved volunteer role. This could be concerning more time required, a leadership role (ex: an executive member), or even holding multiple positions within a group. Many people start volunteering with an organization and develop a passion for the work that they do! We highly encourage people to follow this path, if one can, as moving on up in a group is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Definitely look into becoming more involved with the organization you are volunteering with, you won’t regret it!