Determine how much time you can realistically commit to volunteering. Look for an opportunity that fits your availability and schedule. You may want to start out volunteering a couple hours a week to see how the responsibility fits into your life. You can always increase your time commitment as you move forward.
Think about your experience and knowledge and how your skills might be put to good use. Look for a volunteer opportunity that is a good fit for your unique abilities. Also look for something you think you would enjoy and find fulfilling.
As some people reach their seasoned years they are surprised to find they have more free time on their hands than ever before. There are lots of ways to fill free time. One of the most rewarding is by volunteering. Volunteering is a great way to use your life experiences to benefit others. It gives you a chance to have a positive impact in your community and make a positive difference in other people’s lives.
Not only does volunteering give you the opportunity to help others, it can enhance your own life as well. A genuine sense of accomplishment and fulfillment comes hand-in-hand with the experience of volunteering. Knowing you are doing something productive and worthwhile with your free time can be extremely rewarding and heartwarming. Plus, volunteering gets you out of the house, helps you stay active, gives you a chance to meet new people, and can be a lot of fun.
In addition, volunteering is good for your health and wellbeing. Scientific and medical studies have proven that volunteering can help seniors maintain better brain function and cognitive abilities. It makes sense. Volunteering keeps your brain active and keeping the brain active is known to help deter the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Volunteering also keeps the body active and keeping the body active helps to support good health, increase mobility, improve balance, build a stronger defense against disease, and foster longevity.
Speaking of longevity, some very interesting research findings published in 2013 in the journal "Psychology and Aging" suggest a strong connection between volunteering and longevity. The investigation involved 14 studies that followed thousands of participants aged 55 and older. Researchers determined that older adults who volunteered reduced their risk of mortality by 47 percent. Even when researchers controlled for other variables – such as socioeconomic standing, marital status, and health – the adults who volunteered still had a 25 percent reduced risk of mortality.
It is a good idea to request a job description for the work you will be doing as a volunteer. You will want to know exactly what will be expected of you. Most organizations will have a job description already available or work with you to develop something you can both agree upon. Many organizations also offer training programs for their volunteers.
Be prepared to introduce yourself and explain your background and qualifications. It is equally as important that an organization looking for volunteers find people with the right skills and interests for a job as it is for a company looking for qualified employees to fill a position.
Visit the organization where you intend to volunteer before confirming your commitment. Take a good look around. Check out the environment where you will be volunteering and the people you will be working with to get a sense of how well you will fit into the fold.
First, do some research to find out want types of volunteer opportunities are available in your local area. Look for organizations that deal with causes or issues that are important to you or significant in your life. The more passionate you are about the outcome of your volunteer efforts, the more satisfying and rewarding your experience will be.