5 Tips for Volunteers

Now don’t get me wrong, but even though volunteering is one of the best things a person can do with their time, it can be done incorrectly. By incorrectly I don’t mean that there’s a right way or a wrong way to volunteer. I’m talking about people who don’t do their research and end up volunteering for an organization they dislike or for a cause they don’t truly care about. Even though their efforts are rightfully appreciated, it’s a fact that people do better and more engaged when they’re happy with what they’re doing. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to maximize your volunteering experience.volunteer

  1. Do your research: As I mentioned above, research is key to enjoying your volunteering experience and maximizing the amount help you can give to others. Make sure the organization and cause you’re working with are ones that line up with your beliefs, desires, and emotions. Remember, volunteering should move you and make you feel things.
  2. Consider your skills: If you’re skilled in a certain field, consider volunteering where your unique skills would be put to the most use. Regardless of what your experiences and skills are, there will be places where they will have the maximum effect and pursuing those options would be a great way to help as much as you can.
  3. Don’t overcommit your schedule: Volunteering is exhausting, both physically and emotionally. It also has a very draining effect on your mental stamina and it’s necessary to make sure that you take time off so that you don’t burn out. You won’t be able to help anyone if you’re too tired and drained and so don’t feel bad about taking a break — you need it too.
  4. Search for volunteer opportunities: There are some places that are known for accepting volunteers in droves — hospitals and libraries are two that come to mind. But there are also tons of lesser known organizations and places that would love to have someone volunteer. Look around your community and ask around, what you find may surprise you.
  5. Do you want to learn?: Some volunteering opportunities may end up teaching you skills and imparting information. Think about that when you’re figuring out where you want to spend your time.

These are just 5 tips to make sure you’re volunteering at your best. Read here for more!

Christmas is the Time for Volunteering

Christmas is a special time for so many reasons. When you hear the word, you can’t help but think of family, friends, food, and of course, presents. However, while all of those are great things, there’s no denying that there’s more to Christmas than just material goods. One of the most important aspects of Christmas is the spreading of love and joy to everyone, even people you don’t know. And there is nothing that spreads more joy or shows more love than helping people in need during the holiday season. That’s right, volunteering is the utmost example of the Christmas spirit.

Ask anyone who works in a nonprofit or in charge of volunteers and they’ll all tell you the same thing; when it comes to Christmas, the volunteers are out in droves and have great attitudes about helping any and all. When you think about it, it makes sense. Charity, giving, and helping people in need is a cornerstone of the Bible and for people who have a religious bent to their Christmas celebration, volunteering the day of or the day after is just the logical extension of the Christmas spirit. For those who are more secular in their celebrations, volunteering is just something that feels good and is still in line with a more non-religious version of Christmas. Christmas is a time of giving and after giving gifts to the people you know and love, you should give you time to those who don’t have the fortune that you do.

Not only are people more giving of their time, they are also more generous with financial donations. For those who aren’t in the mood to help people in person, the option of donating money is always available and donations spike during the holiday season. While it’s not the same as being there in person (though it’s also neither worse nor better), donations can be a huge boon to nonprofits that frequently struggle to raise the necessary funds to help people, especially during the holiday season.

If you’d like to read more, the link is here.

10 Amazing Tech Nonprofits, Part 2

Last month I began a list of the 10 best technology nonprofits that can be found around the world. I told you a little about them and their missions, as well as linking you to their websites so that you can donate, volunteer, or simply spread awareness about the amazing work that they’re doing with technology! Now, I’m going to finish my list and tell you about the remaining 5 and how they’re looking to change the world as we know it.jonathan offt, cedar rapids, iowa, nonprofit

  1. KoBo Toolbox: This nonprofit was developed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and consists of an open-source set of tools for data collection and analysis in regards to disasters and humanitarian relief. This sort of data can be used to deliver needed supplies to the areas that are the hardest hurt and KoBo has partnered with the United Nations and the International Rescue Committee to make electronic disaster relief data more reliable and easier to access during times of crisis.
  2. The Guardian Project: This is a technology startup that focuses on internet privacy and making sure that people’s work and personal data is hidden from prying eyes. They make simple, customized, and secure apps for anyone, ranging from citizens to journalists, so that whatever they are working on is safe from monitoring and interception.
  3. TechSoup Global: Along with a fantastic name, this nonprofit is also doing fantastic work. This company focuses on the fact that computers are difficult to come by, especially for organizations that need them most like schools and nonprofits. They work to bring a wider access to computers to groups and organizations that need them, as well as connecting those organizations to people with the skills and motivation to use those computers to their utmost potential.
  4. Code For Progress: This nonprofit focuses on bring women and people of color into the world of technology and coding. Both of these groups are wildly underrepresented in the technology world and this company is looking to even and diversify the playing field.
  5. Change.org: This is one of the better known technology nonprofits out there (I’m sure all of you have come across a petition from them). This company is an online petition and activism portal that allows people to connect with causes they truly believe in, both through the signing of petitions as well as by giving more information on these causes.

This wraps up this series of posts about some of the most impressive technology nonprofits out there. While these are the ones I wrote about, there are so many others that are using technology to change the world. Explore them all and if you’d like to read more, the link is here!