Do you have a few spare minutes of your day to give to a good cause? There are tons of volunteer opportunities and organizations out there that need you, your time and your unique approach to getting the job done. Time and again we see how it’s big-hearted, everyday people who are heroes to those in need. All you need are a few skills and a lot of compassion. You can help build playgrounds for kids or fund music lessons for low-income children. And for the very busy person there’s now “micro-volunteering” which allows people to volunteer in small bits of time, usually through their Smartphone.
Plus, volunteer work is also good for your health and your career. According to Livestrong contributor Gae-Lynn Woods: “The Corporation for National and Community Service says that volunteering improves psychological and physical health. Volunteers also reap the benefits of feeling a personal sense of accomplishment while building social networks that, in turn, support them in times of stress. Volunteer opportunities are also an important part of your resume. A history of volunteer work demonstrates your commitment to the community and a willingness to work for the betterment of others.” Here are ten new and classic ways to open your heat to others.
1. Habitat for Humanity
Are you good with a hammer or paintbrush? This organization provides an important service in communities around the world: it builds affordable homes for low-income families. The more people volunteer, the more homes can be built.
2. Skills for Change
If time is an issue for you, use your Smartphone or laptop while waiting at the doctor’s office next time to translate a foreign-language document into English, add identifying tags to photos and videos for a museum or give advice to a college applicant.
Read Related: Spiritual Benefits of Volunteering
3. Animal Rescue Shelters
Do you love animals? Local animal shelters almost always need volunteers. Offer them your office skills by answering emails, answering phones, and providing general administrative assistance. And you get to spend time with the cutest pups and kitties in town.
Not sure what to support? Labeled as a “new cause-oriented site,” it helps people find causes to support. It’s also used by companies so that their employees can reap the benefits of volunteering together.
Don’t have time for volunteering, but have some extra cash? A micro-lending site like Kiva, allows you to lend $25 or more to the working poor in 184 countries. Use PayPal or a credit card and offer a loan to a struggling entrepreneur with a dream.
6. Hero Network
Referred to as the world’s first and largest social helping network, they’ve gathered volunteers to make 110, 000 wishes come true. Like the woman with cerebral palsy whose wish was to go up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum like Rocky Balboa did.
This booming sight has already engaged one million volunteers. After Katrina hit New Orleans, kids lost their playgrounds. Here, you can assemble park equipment, paint murals and build picnic tables so that children’s laughter can be heard once more.
8. Global Vision International
Why limit yourself locally to helping? Whether you’re in your gap year, over 50, part of a family, a student, or just looking for inspiration, GVI can find a fulfilling volunteer opportunity for you around the globe.
9. Retirement Homes
Are you good at public speaking or want to practice? Volunteer to recite some poetry, read book excerpts or famous speeches to senior citizens at your local retirement home. If you’re a computer whiz, teach seniors some basic computer tasks.
10. Ronald McDonald House Charities
Like being around families? Volunteer your time helping homes for families with sick children, by tidying the houses, doing administrative tasks or working at special events and cooking meals.