Like to volunteer? Looking to give back to your community? Admittedly, it can be tricky to find the time, keep up the momentum, and stay involved all year long. But you can do good more often. Here are a few tips to incorporate non-profit work into your daily life, á là our newest Brand Ambassador, actor and Lupus Awareness advocate Ian Harding.
Step 1: Choose a Cause You Care About
The key to making a difference is finding a cause you can relate to. Volunteer for an organization that supports a hardship you've experienced personally. Give your time to a foundation devoted to researching an illness that has impacted a close friend or family member. The connection can make your contributions feel all the more worthwhile.
Or, make it about your personal interests. If you have a passion for sports, help underprivileged kids in an athletic program. If your favorite place is your home, support relief efforts to victims of natural disasters. There are endless ways to connect with people, both in your community and around the world.
Step 2: Find a Place to Volunteer
There are easily-accessible ways to take part in non-profit work. An environment you love can be a great place to start. Think: libraries, senior centers, rec centers, and animal shelters.
And consider the set up: Are you an outdoorsy person? Do you prefer to work in an office environment? Do you want your volunteer work to be physically active or more sedentary? Answer these questions to help you narrow down the kind of work and environment you're looking for.
Step 3: Start Small
Building a new habit takes time. So at first, make your contributions on a smaller scale. Maybe you dedicate one day every other month to volunteer. Or, donate a portion of your paycheck each month to a new cause. Once you find something you love to be a part of, you'll organically find more and more hours (for example) to give. Soon enough, this element of your life will be second nature.
Step 4: Have Patience
Volunteering is a real commitment—in all the best ways. Beyond the cause itself, you'll establish a rapport with the organization and your fellow volunteers in no time. You’ll stockpile shared stories and experiences. And you just might create change and inspire others to get involved. So be patient. Finding truly fulfilling volunteer work may be intuitive, or it may take time. But, if we’re being honest, it can be good for you and for the world around you.