Where Should I Volunteer? The Key Questions To Ask Before Deciding
Thinking of volunteering? Ask yourself these 6 key questions before you start to ensure the most fulfilling experience.
Happy volunteer grandmother smiling at camera in a park

Many seniors love volunteering. It’s a great way to connect with people, stay mentally and physically active, and contribute positively to your community.

If you’re considering volunteering, think about these 6 questions to get headed in the most rewarding direction.

1. What Cause Lights Your Heart?

There are so many organizations looking for volunteers that you won’t have any trouble finding one to serve.

If you’re thinking about service, start from the inside out. What cause makes your heart sparkle and light up? Perhaps it is anything with children. Maybe you love helping people in physical or emotional need. You might be a lover of nature, parks, forests and oceans. If you have a love of animals, there are many shelters that need help.

For many people, these causes are already well known. You may have already been active in other ways—such as subscribing to a magazine, contributing to a cause, or attending fundraisers.

Think about your life so far. What causes have attracted your attention? What causes have you actively supported? What celebrities, friends, and family do you admire for their work in a certain cause?

Each of these investigations will make a decision that lines up with your personal passion.

Group of senior female volunteers picking up trash on the beach

2. What Local Cause Matters Most?

In many communities, the concept of micro volunteering is taking root. This is a way to help people around your community with tasks and work. This is a way to be of service, do good, and make a difference close to home.

It’s a way to make volunteering easy, simple, and local. If you’d like to explore this, check out nonprofits in your area. At organizations such as do-it.org you can get inspired. If you’re looking for meaning and purpose, volunteering for a local cause is a great place to start.

3. What Skills Make You Shine?

You’ve learned and used many skills in your life. Some, you may want to do more of. Others, well…you may never want to do those again. Only you know for sure which one is which.

Are you a lightening fast typist…but never want anyone to know?
Are you a natural in the kitchen…and love anything related to baking?
Are you at home in a garden, and want to share your green thumb skills?
Are you fluent in two languages…and love teaching others?

Whether you have earned money or not for your great skills, now you can go to town. Make a list of what you love doing, and want to do more of.

This is the list of skills to focus on. With these in hand, you can offer your volunteer services to the cause that you care about most.

4. Who Do You Want To Be Around?

Volunteering is rewarding and fun. If you have a good friend, neighbor, or family member to share the experience with, you all benefit. For many people, spending time volunteering with a friend just doubles the delight.

If you have a friend or acquaintance that might be interested, pop the question. They may or may not be up for it. However, if you don’t ask, you won’t find out. Of course, no one likes to be pressured. Keep it light, and explore options for volunteering together. If it seems to be easy, go forward. If you encounter resistance, go out and make new friends.

Many volunteers find that their work expands their social circle. You naturally find opportunities to work together, play together, and share interests beyond the volunteer organization. For many seniors, this is a great way to expand your social network. You’ll meet active people, interact across generations, and share the rewards of doing good work.

A group of happy senior citizens enjoying spending time together

5. How Can You Contribute and Keep Learning?

Volunteering is great for the organization, and it can be equally great for life-long learning. You may have an interest in learning languages, technology, practical skills, or business skills.

Many volunteer organizations need administrative help. If you love detail, you could be just the natural organizer they need. Many volunteers find that they arrive, hat in hand, ready to help. They may have imagined doing something hands-on, but upon arrival, they realize other talents are needed. You could be the person to whip that office into shape, organize a funding drive, or market a new project.

Along the way, you could find that your skills need some sprucing up. You might get inspired to take a class on non-profit marketing, technology skills, or business management. The great thing about working for a volunteer organization is you can start where you are, build your skills, and keep learning.

This is a wonderful way to find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. You’re giving back to the causes and communities you care about. At the same time, you are staying fit, active, and social in ways that you might only have dreamed about.

6. How Can You Help From Home?

It’s possible to volunteer—even if you are experiencing mobility issues. If you can’t leave your home, you can still find ways to help.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind? People need help. You can do something from wherever you are living.

Many organizations are looking for help with phone campaigns, donation drives, and fundraising activities. You often can connect with community agencies that are looking for phone volunteers. Clearly, you can use your phone from wherever you are located.

Additionally, many organizations do donation drives. These groups often need volunteers to reach out to potential donors, organize events, or schedule other groups of volunteers. If you’ve got a knack for getting things ship-shape, you could add tremendous value.

Finally, you may find ways to volunteer with organizations such as: Volunteer Match. This nonprofit connects people to charities that need volunteers. You could have a blast doing some good. Imagine: knitting blankets for people in need, knitting scarves for orphans, getting petitions signed, or enrolling volunteers in email campaigns. You can also check out ways to volunteer virtually.

If you’re looking for ways to volunteer, you can find great opportunities. As the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Assistance Club Summary

The #1 big idea: follow your passion, use your skills, enjoy yourself, and volunteer. Along the way, you’ll be of service, meet great people, keep learning, and reap the rewards of your generous giving.