Honoring April's National Volunteer Week: Opportunities & Resources

Volunteer for a cause you're passionate about and change the world!

Elizabeth Hoyt

March 15, 2016

Honoring April's National Volunteer Week: Opportunities & Resources

This April, National Volunteer Week is observed April 10-16, 2016. But, that doesn’t mean that you should limit your service to one week or, even, one month!

The week is all about celebrating service and according to Points of Light, “is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.”

There’s also a lot of history behind the celebration.

“National Volunteer Week, a program of Points of Light, was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.”

Interested in volunteering or helping out your community? Here are some organizations and resources that’ll guide you to opportunities and help you help others:

Easy and free, but still counts as donating so you get your karma points:

Amazon Smile

If you ever shop on Amazon, there’s no reason you can’t do this. Instead of entering Amazon.com as you usually would, enter through smile.amazon.com and Amazon will make a donation to the organization of your choice – they have you designate one upon first entry (local or national) when you make purchases.

You don’t need a new account, you can use the one you already have. It’s just a matter of entering the site with the word “smile” first. It’s absolutely no extra cost to you – they just donate a portion of their profits from your purchase. That’s it.

Why doesn’t eveyone do that? Not everyone knows – so bookmark smile.amazon.com and spread the word!

Join a community to recognize where change is needed and engage:

All for Good

Affiliated with Points of Light, All for Good, allows you to search and signup for volunteer opportunities, post your own volunteer opportunities or signup to volunteer when a disaster strikes.

The hub connects Americans who want to make a difference with nonprofits, large and small.

If you’re able to dedicate an allotted amount of time for a term of service (in exchange for funding):

Americorps

Each year, AmeriCorps offers opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups.

Members who complete service may be eligible for an Education Award of up to $5,730 (to pay for college, graduate school, or to pay back qualified student loans) plus living allowances during their term of service.

Does the thought of animal cruelty make you livid? Then, perhaps this is a good opportunity for you:

ASPCA

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world. The site lists ways you can help fight animal cruelty in your community and help save lives!

If you’re passionate about pets and animal rescue, why not volunteer with one?

Petfinder.com

Petfinder.com makes it easy for people to adopt rescued pets, by making them searchable online. But, that’s not all they do!

They have resources for those who want to find volunteer opportunities with animal shelters and rescues if that’s the type of volunteer work you’d prefer!

Make a grand splash by volunteering a mobilized movement:

Points of Light

Points of Light is the World’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The organization works to mobilize volunteering, making it a movement. They work through innovative programs, events and campaigns to bring people from all over the world together to work for change.

Sign up or search causes on the site to choose which volunteer effort you’d like to join.

If caring, compassion, community service run through your veins:

The Red Cross

The Red Cross helps prepare communities for disaster relief, emergencies and keeps people safe every day thanks to volunteers. The website states that they are always looking for volunteers with various backgrounds, talents and skill levels.

From doctors and donors to data entry and drive organizers, The Red Cross makes extraordinary things happen daily with the help and support of people like you.

If you love being in the great outdoors – this is the resource for you:

Volunteer.gov

Volunteer.gov is a volunteer portal for those looking to volunteer within America’s natural and cultural resources – meaning, if you’re into the outdoors and getting your hands dirty this is a great way to volunteer to help conserve America’s beautiful public lands, state parks, wildlife conservation, forests, etc.

The site provides a free portal which matches volunteers based on personal requirements and choice of volunteer work with volunteer opportunities within America’s natural and cultural resource agencies.

If you’re searching for the perfect opportunity, but have no idea what that may be, we recommend:

Volunteermatch.org

Matches users to volunteer opportunities with over 99,000 participating nonprofit organizations. By connecting communities of nonprofit organizations, volunteers and business leaders, VolunteerMatch receives millions of visitors a year.

Surely, with more than 92,000 active volunteer opportunities, you can find an opportunity that suits your interests, schedule and needs.

Plus, with more than nine million referrals since 1998, you can rely on VolunteerMatch as a useful tool volunteers utilize.

Noteworthy Reminders:

Did you know you can qualify for money to pay for school just for your volunteer and community service work? It’s true – check out these volunteer and community service scholarships and internships!

Don’t forget to check out Fastweb’s Cause of the Month, provided by DoSomething.org! If you’re ever looking for a way to give back, we update the Cause of the Month…well, monthly! That way, there is always something that you can do to help others.

Remember, you can donate your time and efforts all year long and not just during a celebratory week or month!

What are your favorite resources to find volunteer opportunities? We’d love for you to share below!

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