This holiday season, and all year long, get out there and give back to your community
Beyond the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from making a difference, there are many amazing benefits to volunteering. It can help you improve your community, meet new friends, and grow your network and skill set.
But for the first-time volunteer, it can be intimidating to start, especially when it comes to figuring out how and where to help. Here are seven tips to get you started on your path to helping.
Be a Good Samaritan
The simplest way to help somebody is to be a Good Samaritan when the opportunity arises. See an accident, a medical emergency or even a tornado? Push the red Emergency button* and report it. It may seem like a small effort when compared to other types of volunteer work, but this one little act has the potential to save lives in an instant. And who doesn’t love that? Read more about how Members have acted as Good Samaritans.
Work with the Red Cross
Your first instinct may be to donate to the American Red Cross* during an emergency, but did you know that they also accept volunteers year-round? In fact, volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross, so helpers with big hearts are always in demand. It’s something that we, at OnStar, know firsthand through our Missing Types blood drive efforts and disaster relief initiatives. Visit their volunteer page to raise your hand.
See your school
If you have school-aged children, their school is an easy first choice for volunteering. Consider joining the Parent Teacher Association or pitching in as a playground helper or crossing guard. Every school is different, so contact the main office or check in with your child’s teacher to find out how you can help.
Check in at church
With a focus on the community and a legacy of charity, the house of worship down the street is a great place to serve the needs of your neighborhood. Depending on your faith, Church Finder®, IslamicFinder or the Jewish National Fund can also help you locate a congregation that fits you.
Reach out to civic organizations
If you’re interested in helping a specific community, a civic organization may be the right choice for you. Local alumni associations, scouting groups and veterans’ clubs all offer plenty of ways to get involved. But with so many options out there, where do you begin? As the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations, GuideStar is a central library of all things civic — and a solid place to start.
Tap the apps
A new wave of community-based social networking apps, like Nextdoor, are now making it easy to connect with volunteering opportunities at the neighborhood level. Simply download, sign on and sign up to help.
Know where to look
If downloading an app isn’t your thing, there are a number of specialized search engines that focus on finding volunteer opportunities. Websites like VolunteerMatch, Idealist and All for Good can guide you to a wealth of events — both nearby and across the country.
Just get started
All told, the best way to start volunteering is to just get started. However you choose to help, it’s sure to give you all the feels and put the world on the right track.