Looking to volunteer? Here’s how to find the right fit

(NC) Contributing to a vibrant community is an important part of feeling at home in your neighbourhood. It’s natural for many of us to want to give back to the place we love. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and support what matters to you. Plus, it can be flexible enough for any schedule, skill set, or community. While there are likely endless volunteer opportunities in your area, it can be a bit tricky to find one that feels right and meaningful to you.

Here are some tips to help you find the right volunteer fit:

Consider your passions
The things you love to do or think about are the perfect place to start when it comes to finding a volunteer opportunity. You’re more likely to enjoy volunteering if it ties into something you love. Are you obsessed with movies? Check in with the local film festival. Passionate about animals? Volunteer as a dog walker at a rescue. A bona fide book nerd? Talk to your local library or school about their reading programs.

Consider your skills
It’s worth taking stock of what your experience can offer as a volunteer. Think about what you’re already good at and where that might come in handy. It can be particularly rewarding to share your expertise with those in need of it. For instance, are you good with finances? Perhaps the local sports club needs your skills as a new treasurer. Legal, communications and logistics skills are always in-demand, but don’t limit yourself to career-related know-how either. If you’re handy, know first aid, gardening, or any practical real-life skills, you’ll be a considerable asset to an organization in need.

Mine your network
Reach out to familiar institutions like local schools, libraries, religious organizations, community centres, local sports groups or grassroots charities. Talk to your family and friends for ideas or for connections to opportunities you might not have thought of yet. Who knows, maybe together you can create your own unique volunteer activity and give back to your community.

Help solve a need
Do you see yourself as an advocate? Do your research to find out where you can lend your voice. The latest census data is a great resource to learn about the makeup of your community and it can help identify needs. For example, if the up-to-date data shows a growing school age population in your area, you could use that information to help champion new after-school programs. If you have another idea to benefit your community, see if census data can add weight to your case. Decision-makers want to make informed decisions, so they love seeing qualified data and facts to back up community initiatives. Arming yourself with this information can make your volunteer efforts go a long way.
Find out more and check out the data at statcan.gc.ca/census.

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