Guest post by Lisa Shoreland
You might be dreaming of taking a trip halfway around the world to volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about, but whenever you decide to take a trip, there’s a lot of planning and fundraising involved. And in the meantime, you want to be giving your time to a great cause, but you’re a million miles away from being able to do anything in person. Why not find the perfect volunteering opportunity in your local area to help you do something good while you plan your trip? You can volunteer anywhere!
You can learn a lot about the kinds of work you’ll be doing once you go abroad – experience is a wonderful thing to have when you’re about to travel to a foreign country. If you’re planning a trip to help feed the hungry in Rwanda, for example, volunteering locally in a program that teaches nutrition and food preparation could help you do more when you go abroad.
Even if you’re not planning to take a volunteering trip, you can find the perfect way to donate your time, energy, and resources to those who need them by checking out these five websites.
Jump to this website and you’ll be able to search for local volunteering opportunities in a variety of categories, read about volunteering news, view photos and watch video footage of volunteer projects, join iParticipate using your Facebook account, follow it on a variety of social media sites, and even grab the iParticipate widget. This makes it easy to find a way to volunteer that uses your skills and allows you to work for your passion, and it’s also a great way to motivate your friends to join. By using your social media accounts to promote iParticipate, you might be able to help snag some more volunteers for great causes. You can even play games online and send the ad revenue to iParticipate.
This website will also allow you to connect with social media sites and find local volunteering opportunities. It’s offering a volunteer group advanced search for the holidays that lets you find ways to get together with friends and family to do something great. Opportunities include group nursing home visits, holiday dinners, helping with holiday parties, and more.
Try out this website if you want to start your own volunteering project. It’s also great for finding local opportunities, but the unique thing about the site is its resources for people who are passionate about developing their own programs. Find toolkits to help you think of everything and get started on some serious brainstorming and planning. Then register your project on Serve.gov, spread the word, and share your story with others to help inspire new volunteering projects. This website also offers the ability to connect with social media sites, so you can easily share every step of the way with your friends and family.
At DoSomething.org, students can find great volunteering opportunities abroad that provide room and board in exchange for volunteer hours. You can also search for ways to volunteer locally, find a DoSomething club near you, get volunteer information texted to your cell phone, and read about volunteering news and events. It’s easy to apply for a grant if you’re thinking about creating your own volunteering project, and social media partnerships let you share your thoughts and actions. Polls, quizzes, and the opportunity to share videos or projects with other site members make it an interactive and fun place to find volunteer information.
If you’re unable to donate your time and energy to good causes, you can check out this website to guide you in charitable giving. It provides you with current evaluations of over a million charities, rating each from one to four stars based on how financially responsible it is in day-to-day operations and how well positioned it is to sustain its programs over time. So if you’ve ever worried that your money might not be going to the real cause, use this website to make sure you’re putting your money into good hands.
Lisa Shoreland is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at Go college, where recently she’s been researching grants for college and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and hogging her boyfriend’s PlayStation 3. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and bringing home abandon animals.