Find the Best Skills-Based Volunteer Opportunity by Asking These Questions

Giving your time through volunteering is a great way to make a positive impact on your community. It’s also an opportunity for you to use your talents to help nonprofits build capacity all while working on the skills that will help you succeed professionally. Asking the right questions about potential skills-based volunteer opportunities will help you decide if a project you’re considering is a good fit for you.

To figure out whether you’re ready to start looking for a skills-based volunteer opportunity, ask yourself the following questions:

What are your goals?
Before jumping into any skills-based volunteering opportunity, consider what you want to accomplish by volunteering. Are you hoping to make connections with leaders in your community? Gain experience that will give you insight for serving on a nonprofit board? Make a comprehensive list of what would qualify as an ideal volunteer experience for you. Then, narrow down your goals to your top two and use these objectives to guide your search.

How will you be managed?
Think about how you hope to engage with the nonprofit while you volunteer. Will you have weekly tasks or only take on a project once every season? By defining your role you can better facilitate your relationship with the nonprofit’s staff.

What are the nonprofit’s expectations?
Most nonprofits would love having the opportunity to bring on a responsible volunteer who offers a professional skill set. However, it’s easy for nonprofits to get carried away monopolize your time. Before you say yes to a project, talk to the individual in charge to determine what his or her expectations are for your involvement.

How long do you plan to contribute your talents?
Before committing to any projects, set an expected timeline. By establishing a start and end date for a project or your involvement, both you and the nonprofit will better understand the parameters of your work and what impact you plan to make.

What would you consider a mutually beneficial skills-based volunteer opportunity?
At the end of the day, a skills-based volunteer opportunity offers great capacity building to your nonprofit of choice while giving you the ability to amplify your professional experience. The ideal experience for you will depend on your current career goals and personal passions. Review both to figure out what you want to gain from volunteering and to make sure that the opportunity you find is the right fit for you.

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.