The second category or philanthropy identified in A Path Appears is giving time: volunteering. Given existing pandemic restrictions, many volunteer opportunities are unavailable until it’s safe to gather, but if that’s the case for you, it just gives you more time to reflect on your options. There’s a lot to think about.
A first step is identifying the skills you have that you’d like to share. Not all volunteer gigs require special skills. You can participate in a neighborhood cleanup or help set up tables at a church function or walk dogs at a shelter without much training. Other opportunities might require special training. If you want to serve as a museum docent or a hospital volunteer or a literacy tutor, you’ll need to spend some time learning the ropes. On the other hand, you may already have skills that would be of use. Do you knit? A local charity may be collecting hats, mittens, and scarves. Do you have building or carpentry skills? Habitat for Humanity or Christmas in April can use you. Your teaching skills might help a tutoring program, while your bookkeeping skills could be of great assistance to many charitable agencies.
The next step is identifying how you’d like to volunteer. For some people, a regular commitment is preferred. It gives structure to the week and makes it easy to plan. For others, one more regular commitment would just be too much. They do better with helping out on occasional projects or even more intense projects that last only a few days. Some volunteer opportunities can be done at home. Others require travel. Only you can decide what fits best with your life.
Once you’ve identified something you’d like to do, make a call, send an email, offer your help. But do be patient. Often the person responsible for volunteers is a volunteer herself, so she has to work callbacks into her personal responsibilities Also, there may be some delay before you can start – to allow for training or because a schedule is already in place.