Volunteering your time makes sense whether you are employed or unemployed.  You may have the talent and expertise that non-profits need and the non-profits have needs that without volunteers might otherwise go unmet.

There are dozens of non-profit organizations to choose from and with a little research you are bound to find one that fits within your religious, political and practical parameters.  An easy starting point would be to contact the Volunteer Connection with lists most volunteer opportunities within Boulder County or check with your church.

If you are unemployed there are several excellent reasons to spend some time each week involved in volunteer activities.  If you volunteer to use your current skills you will be able to maintain your proficiency level until you return to work.  If you volunteer to provide services outside of your current skill set, many organizations may provide training or align you with other volunteers or paid staff who can mentor you in developing a new skill.  Volunteering also allows the unemployed person to fill the void in time on their resume created by the unemployment.  Prospective employers would prefer to see that you have been actively engaged in positive community activities during your unemployment rather than sitting around watching the daytime soaps.

Another positive result of volunteering for the unemployed individual is networking.  Most non-profit organizations have business leaders and decision makers associated with the organization as Board members, advisors or carrying out other volunteer roles. By volunteering you will have the opportunity to meet these decision makers and demonstrate to them a shared value and your level of expertise.

Persons who are currently employed may find many of the same values of volunteering useful as well.  Learn a new skill, upgrade an older skill or give fully of a current skill.  The next person who reads your resume may appreciate your community involvement, unselfishness and willingness to go that extra mile outside of your employment.   Don’t forget that you may positively affect your income tax return by keeping track of your volunteer hours, mileage spent while volunteering and many other expenses that you incur as the result of your volunteer service.  Check with your tax professional for specifics of what and how to take deductions related to volunteer service.

Enhance your skills, develop new skills, share your skills, meet new people of influence, serve people who need assistance and all the while doing something that feels good and benefits others.  Everyone has a few hours a week to volunteer…so what’s stopping you?

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