Volunteering my time to good causes is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It has given me an ever growing sense of accomplishment, which is why I recommend it to everyone.  It’s not only good for the community, it’s good for you too.

You don’t need to be tremendously skilled at something to do something meaningful, and seeing the change you can make with a little effort here and there is a very empowering feeling. When I say volunteer your time, I don’t mean to anyone specific. It could be to the community in general, by picking up trash, or working with a nonprofit that has a cause you believe in.

Here are some of the main things I have learned in my journey of random volunteer work:

  1. Volunteering is fun.

    Unlike any other job you might have had, volunteering is fun. While some people have fun jobs, they are exactly that – a job. No matter what you’re doing for work, it’s work. When you volunteer you’re not tied to a position, and you can find volunteer work doing what you want rather than what you’re being told to do. There is also no pressure on your performance, because you are working for free. Personally, I like donating my media skills with photography and design to gain experience in the process. It’s a great way to improve your skills, and no matter what you’re good at, I am sure there is someone out there who could use your help.

  2. You meet genuinely good people

    I guarantee every single person you meet when volunteering your time to a group will be nice, and so will anyone that benefits from the work you are doing. People that are legitimately nice can be hard to find, and it’s a great opportunity to make friends. I’ve met many many friends since I started.

  3. Volunteer groups create awesome environments to be a part of.

    Fellow volunteers aren’t forced to be there, nor are they financially motivated to be nice — which creates a cheerful and productive work environment. Whether you are volunteering with 3 people or three-hundred, there is a universal sense of community and that goes well beyond anything I could pin down with words. There is a group mentality, and from my experience, when you pull together a lot of people with that much positivity, great things happen. Go check out the Delivering Hope group, and read their story. They are a perfect example of positive people banding together. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of a few of their events, and that is what inspired me to volunteer my time whenever I can.

So, where can you start?

There are a million groups and causes out there from you to chose from – or you could even start your own, if you’re so inclined. But as I stated before, you don’t have to go through any official channels to do something good with your time. Just go to your favorite beach and clean it up, certainly no one will stop you. If you can think of a skill you have that is unique, or one you’d like to develop – pursue it. Maybe you want to have better social skills, learn woodworking, get better at web design, or even cooking. You can find a place to volunteer pretty much any skill. No matter how bad you are at whatever you’re doing – people will still appreciate it, and you’ll eventually get better.

If you are looking to volunteer, and located in Rhode Island, I suggest taking a look at Delivering Hope, and the North Kingstown Animal Shelter Support Foundation.