What issues are you passionate about? Access to clean water? Animal cruelty? LGBTQ rights? Food deserts or global hunger? Homelessness?
There are millions of opportunities for you to get involved and make a difference in your community or across the globe. You could:
- Organize a food drive for neighbors in need;
- Volunteer at a school or rec center in your community;
- Travel abroad to help set up clean water systems or help disaster victims; or
- Advocate for legislation that ensures protection for victims of domestic violence.
No matter what your interests and concerns are, there’s a volunteer opportunity that fits with the time and resources you’re able to share.
Where to Start
There are a number of websites that list volunteer opportunities in communities across the U.S. as well as overseas, including:
- Create the Good
- Hands On Network
- Network for Good
- International Volunteer HQ
- Global Vision International
How to Vet a Nonprofit Organization
If you’re thinking of volunteering your time or making a donation to a nonprofit, it’s wise to do a bit of research first to find out more about the organization. There are a number of online resources that provide information about nonprofit, charitable organizations, including their mission, leadership, executive compensation, how much is spent on professional fundraisers, what percentage of money raised goes to support programs, and how the charity evaluates its effectiveness.
To gather the information you need to decide where you’d like to help, start with these websites: Charity Navigator provides information about an organization’s financial health, accountability and transparency, and the results it achieves.
- Give.org, a site developed and run by the Better Business Bureau, monitors charities’ finances, governance, effectiveness, and solicitation materials, and accredits them based on that information. The site also includes detailed reports about each charity.
- CharityWatch does in-depth research on charities’ finances, leadership, and accountability, and flags wasteful or unethical practices at nonprofits.
- GuideStar provides information about a nonprofit’s finances and leadership.
Good for the World, Good for You
Helping to bring about social change in the world not only helps others, but it can also benefit the volunteer in a number of different ways:
- Volunteers can learn new skills that advance their careers and build their leadership skills.
- Volunteers can try out a new field if they’re considering switching careers.
- Volunteers have lower rates of depression later in life.
- Volunteers can make new friends who share their passion for making a difference for others.
How are you making a difference?
We’re eager to hear about how our alumni are effecting social change. Share your story with us at myWaldenAlumni.com/shareyourstory .