Paul Irving, from Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, says “Evidence-based research demonstrates that purposeful aging improves the lives of older adults and the beneficiaries of their service.” In other words, volunteering is good for your health and looks like it helps you live longer. Sometimes it can be daunting, though, to find just the cause or where you “fit in well” as a volunteer.
Here are my top tips for finding the ideal volunteer opportunity in Orange County.
Know your skills. Give yourself a quick skills assessment: what are you good at, and what are you not that good at? Use the skills you’ve identified to help find the perfect volunteer opportunity. If you’re a builder then a project that helps build houses for the poor could be the perfect match. Maybe you’re a former business executive who is great at mentoring people. Zero in on a couple of skills you excel at and look for opportunities geared towards those.
Identify what causes you are passionate about. Some people love to work with children while others prefer adults. Others have a strong passion to help the homeless. Take a few minutes and think about the causes that really motivate you. While volunteering certainly is work, it shouldn’t be a chore. When you are involved in something you’re passionate about, you’ll find that you enjoy giving your time.
Check out websites that offer skills-based volunteering opportunities.
There are groups that work exclusively to match your skills with non-profit organizations seeking volunteers. Encore OC focuses on utilizing the skills of baby boomers to aid non-profits. Encore OC realizes that there are more than 750,000 baby boomers in Orange County with valuable skills they can contribute to the community. Many of these people are retired and can re-purpose the skills they once used in the workforce in the volunteer sector. Encore OC makes it easy for people seeking volunteer opportunities to use their talents in a new way.
Investigate local non-profit matchmakers. Once you’ve identified your skills and realized what you’re passionate about, there are groups that can find organizations that match the causes you want to get involved with. OC Community Foundation is one such group.
Here, the needs of non-profit groups are matched up with individuals, families, and businesses that have an interest in that group’s goals. Issues, like helping the homeless, at-risk teens and addressing poverty are among those that the OC Community Foundation works to improve. By teaming up with groups like these it’s easier to find volunteer opportunities that cater to your interests.
When you volunteer you not only give back to the community and help those in need, but you’ll also find that you give something back to yourself. You can’t put a price tag on the feeling you get when you are doing something for the greater good. Regardless of your skillset, Orange County nonprofits need your help!