Volunteer Work

Get ready to give back to your community — and we don’t mean your hard earned tax dollars!

And we know how it goes: you’re already stretched as it is trying to juggle your job, your kids, your spouse, and when you get the spare moment: you, so how could you possibly balance another commitment? But there are ways put those good intentions into action – even with that jam-packed schedule. Let us help you ditch the ‘would have, should have, could have’ syndrome with these helpful tips.

Sarah on ‘Use the Time You Have’

‘Sure, we would all like to spend tons of time to help make the world a better place, but when it comes to actually making the commitment, sometimes less is more. Piling on more responsibility than you can handle will inevitably lead to a schedule overload, which in turn will let down those you are trying to help. So before you pair up with an organization, figure out a reasonable amount of time you have to give and go from there. And whether you have one week, one day, or one hour, there’s sure to be a group who will greatly appreciate your help!’

Alicia on: ‘A Family Gathering’

‘Every parent wants to set good examples for their children, so while you’re choosing a place to volunteer, why not try to include your kids as well? Many organizations such as ‘Habitat for Humanity’ and ‘Dorot’ welcome the group effort by providing positions for helpers of all ages. And even if find your existing volunteer situation isn’t exactly kid friendly, there’s bound to be a niche that your child could fill – and sometimes (as I’ve learned firsthand) better than you! Because no matter what age group I lend a helping hand to, my daughter Lucy’s handmade cards always seem to bring about bigger smiles than mine ever do!’

That’s the Spirit

Here are three ways to help you make the most of those good intentions:

#1: Do What You Love
Before you set off to volunteer, take a moment to figure out what you hold near and dear to your heart. Because chances are, there is a group out there that is sure to spark your interests. So whether you have endless patience with children, have a soft spot for animals, or have a knack for handy work, make sure to apply your passions to your volunteer efforts. Sites likes volunteermatch.com will help you connect with over forty-five thousand organizations, so you’re sure to be paired up perfectly.

#2: Buddy System
We know you have only the best of intentions, but if you find you need a little motivation to help you start spreading some good will, look no further than your friends. Grouping up with a few of your pals to volunteer together will not only provide your organization of choice with a few more helping hands, you get to bond with your buddies at the same time — so everyone wins.

#3: Last Resort
So, what if after reading this article you really find you don’t have a moment to spare but still want to do your part? On your next vacation, hit two birds with one stone and plan a helping holiday. Sites such as globalvolunteers.org and i-to-i.com can help get you squared away with a cause and a location. And since most of the time, costs such as airfare, meals, and vaccinations are tax deductible, you’ll get to travel the world, help make it a better place, and get that tax write off you so desperately needed in 2010!