Tips to finding the right volunteer opportunity

Opportunities: Whether you are interested in the environment, history or animals there's a volunteer position for you.
Opportunities: Whether you are interested in the environment, history or animals there's a volunteer position for you.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and in many cases gives you a great sense of self-achievement for stepping out of your comfort zone to help others.

It is a fantastic way to meet new people, looks great on your resume and is a great way to keep yourself active if you are seeking work or to keep you busy in retirement.

Finding the right volunteer opportunity can be tricky, you will want something that matches your interests and skills so that both you and the organisation benefits.

Here are some top tips to get you started on your path to volunteering success.

Make new friends.

Make new friends.

Stand out

Know what you can offer an organisation. Savvy with social media or have a knack for marketing or finance? Make sure you let them know. Volunteering can be a stepping-stone to other opportunities, so think about what volunteering can do for you both personally and professionally.

Be realistic

If you are time poor, then don't over promise on a commitment you can't keep. While you are volunteering your time, these organisations work just like any other business and will expect you to uphold your end of the agreement.

Make a difference

Do you want to make a difference on a local or national level? Volunteer with the elderly, or make a difference to the environment? There are so many opportunities out there, and some may even take you overseas. Do some research and find out what makes you tick when it comes to volunteering.

Where to look

Volunteering Australia is a great place to start, their online initiative, allows you to search for volunteer opportunities nationally by cause, interest, availability, time commitment and more. This site allows you to search by both organisation and opportunity, and you'll be blown away with the sheer volume of opportunities that exist.

Baby steps

Start small and get involved with manageable projects.

You will need time to find your feet.

Each nonprofit has its own culture, and it might not work out the first time.

Don't feel disheartened; treat it as a learning experience. If you love it, embrace it.

National Volunteers Week, May 20 - 26, is a great time to start thinking about what you can do to give back to your community.