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BN360 Spotlight Series: evaluating volunteer opportunities

From volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to serving as a teaching assistant for Junior Achievement in the Buffalo Public Schools, I’ve tried my hand at an array of volunteer activities since college.

The volunteer initiatives that have stuck with me the most are the ones I’m most passionate about and believe have made the biggest impact in serving the community.

Aliyah Schultz

BN360’s October Spotlight Professional: Aliyah Schultz

Below are some steps to take as you consider finding an organization to volunteer with:

What are you passionate about?

Take some time to think about what really matters to you, such as education or the environment, and identify groups that support a similar mission.

What skills do you have that you could contribute?

Project management, teaching, coaching, and marketing are just a handful of the types of skills that organizations look for in volunteers.

What skills would you like to develop?

Volunteering can be a great way to develop a skill-set that could later strengthen your resume.

Oftentimes, community groups are spread thin and are in need of volunteers that are willing to take on diverse tasks, including administrative and project management work. Start small by volunteering for a task that’s a little out of your comfort zone to test and further develop an underutilized skill.

At the end of the day, it’s important to enjoy the volunteer work you do, as it is an activity that occurs outside of your day job and is something you’ve sacrificed your free time to do.

I recommend starting out with a few one-off events to see what groups you may be interested in taking a more active role in.

A great group to join is B Team Buffalo which connects members with a wide spectrum of volunteer opportunities. Sign up to receive their monthly newsletter which contains a list of upcoming volunteer opportunities in the area.

I wish you the best of luck in your volunteerism search!

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