Maximizing Your Impact: Where to find Skilled Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteering gets even better when you find skilled volunteer opportunities where you can use your special skills to help out a nonprofit. For charities with limited budgets, skilled volunteers are valuable assets. Whatever your talents are, there’s a nonprofit out there that could benefit from your help specifically!
Many nonprofits, like Tuesday’s Child, a Chicago organization dedicated to supporting families with children who have behavioral challenges and other special needs, need volunteers for short projects in the office. These could include putting together mailings for donations, inventory items for a silent auction, or other office work. If you’re awesome at organization, this could be the skilled volunteer opportunity for you!
If you’re a seasoned professional in the business world, your expertise could be useful to nonprofits like the Jane Addams Resource Corporation, which provides employment resources and job training for low-income people. They look for skilled volunteers who can lead mock interviews and help write resumes and cover letters.
This could include anything from being computer savvy to being handy with a hammer. Many charities seek out volunteers to help design newsletters or advertisements or help with repairs or improvement projects. Mudlark Theater Company, a nonprofit Chicago-based children’s theater group, looks for people with computer skills to do graphic or web design for promotional material and they are always looking for people to help construct and paint sets and sew costumes!
Long Term Volunteers:
If you’re looking for a more permanent commitment, consider volunteering with a tutoring or mentorship program. For example, Sit Stay Read, which helps Chicago Public School children improve their reading through trained volunteers and reading assistance dogs, has volunteers commit to an 8-week program for one hour per week.
If none of these skilled volunteer opportunities fit you and you’re still thinking, “Where can I make the most impact as a volunteer?”, don’t worry. Chicago Cares provides an up-to-date calendar of volunteer opportunities in Chicago. Idealist lets nonprofits post volunteer opportunities. Additionally, you can enable volunteer opportunities for other people by donating supplies like tools, paint, and computer software. Volunteering is a great way to give back and get plugged in to your community—use your skills to make an impact at a local charity today!
Lauren Anderson is a 2013 project management intern at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Lauren on Google+ or Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at @ZealousGood.