When first researching volunteer opportunities, what first comes to mind may be beautification projects, serving a meal at a soup kitchen, or event specific services. These are wonderful activities, but the world of volunteering is much much bigger. When considering non-profit organizations, it’s important to view such organizations as a type of company that aims to serve the community. All companies have similar departments that help the organization run on a daily basis: marketing, finance, accounting, customer service, sales, facilities, etc. Maybe what a non-profit needs right now is not someone to plant a garden in the front of their building (although that may be a bonus); perhaps what they need more than anything is someone to help with grant writing, marketing, or to be a volunteer teacher.

You may be reading this thinking that back-office volunteer opportunities are not as fun as beautification projects,  but if your overall goal is to help the organization, you may be able to help further their mission and at the same time, build/enhance skills that you can take back to your job. Volunteering doesn’t have to be 100% selfless, its purpose should be to benefit the majority, just don’t forget to include yourself in that equation!