As we are about to start the fourth month of the year, basically in a blink of an eye, with blooming spring and getting close to the mid-year mark, I want to highlight the importance of this month, specifically in the US (because I’m all about living in the future, not the past) and how we can unite to celebrate National Volunteer Month.

If you happen to have just moved to a new city, don’t really have a lot of friends, and are keen to give back, what better way to invest one of your most precious resources in making a positive change in the community?

I’m sure that’s the case for most of us fellows, who probably have done it in the past in our home countries. Volunteering can become the primary step into the journey of your life and can mean a significant boost in your career in the non-profit sector. It doesn’t take a lot to advocate for a cause or social issue, especially if you are starting early (Hello Greta Thunberg!) or even if it is something you want to pursue once you are established.

Volunteers are a key component of many organizations who mobilize not only material resources but also count on people to expand their reach, as they rely on individuals that make their mission possible locally and, and who later become their best example of word-of-mouth marketing. They also play a key role as the essential human factor that pushes the conversion of future donors, allies, and partners, allowing them to build a stronger network worldwide.

But volunteering does not only have a positive effect on the social issues or charities you have decided to support. It comes with a set of benefits for the volunteers too, according to an article from Fast Company, like providing a sense of purpose and community, increasing their social skills, improving self-esteem, teaching new valuable abilities, helping build a professional network, and providing a door to job opportunities. So, it can actually be a very significant point in your resume.

As within the new order of things in the post-pandemic era, volunteering opportunities have also gone digital and flexible, so there is really no excuse to dedicate a few hours of your week or weekend serving somebody else who needs you. If you are based in the US and are looking for remote opportunities in your city, websites like Volunteer Match can be of great service to you, as they post new options daily, with a variety of skills and criteria that can fit your profile. Since I got to NYC, I’ve been collaborating with a national organization for about 6 months now, and have been able to support their refugee resettlement office with simple tasks like working on clients’ resumes, filling out paperwork, and serving as a liaison between the organization and the non-English speaking clients. I’ve also attended health fairs and humanitarian distribution of clothing and food, mostly held over the weekends.

If you are ready to venture into meeting people in real life and get your hands dirty fighting for a social issue, you can find opportunities in local hospitals, animal shelters, parks, and food pantries. Holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are big on volunteer recruitment since a lot of the events happening during these days are sustained through their help.

Even if you feel like that can be a lot, you can also do some spring cleaning and decluttering in your closet and around the house and find some clothing and pantry staples you can donate to people in need. Really the opportunities are there, you just have to find something that sparks your curiosity and selflessness.

And if this is already part of your agenda, thank you so much!! There is someone in the world smiling thanks to you! Happy Volunteering Month dear readers!

Thumbnail photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels