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Helping others feels incredible. The rewarding boost in your mood and the joy of assisting those in need are worth every drop of sweat along the way. If you’re looking for new ways to volunteer, read this guide to understand how to give back to the community. You’ll change lives, meet new friends and discover things about yourself each time you leave your house.
What Does Giving Back Mean?
Giving back means providing physical or financial assistance when someone’s struggling. You could do this when your immediate family members are going through a tough time or when your town undergoes a tragedy. You don’t need to make a massive effort to change someone’s life for the better.
How to Give Back to the Community
There are more ways to give back to the community than making meals at a soup kitchen or working at an animal shelter. Get inspired with these helpful ideas for anyone looking for a new path forward.
1. Research Local Organizations
It’s challenging to branch out when you don’t know which volunteer opportunities are near your home. Local news stations may feature stories about brands needing volunteers, but you can also find niche events online.
Sites like Volunteer Match help people daily. It showcases ways to give back in 30 diverse categories based on your interests and passions. You could sort through produce from nearby farms to send to food banks or hand out baby supplies at nearby domestic violence shelters. Even reading books to kids at your local library would make a big difference in ways you may not have tried before.
2. Focus on Your Talents
You’ll give back most helpfully with your existing skills. As you get more experience, you’ll refine others along the way. Reflect on what your skills might be, like writing, leading people or operating hand tools.
If you have more niche skills, you can still use them creatively. A local event sponsored by your town could accept applications for volunteer booths where attendees can learn skills for free. You might enjoy setting up a table to teach people how to make cocktails or juggle various objects. It depends on your hobbies and if you’d be good at teaching others.
3. Pay Attention to Local News
Your town news station or newspaper could be a great resource for volunteer inspiration. Watch for quick interviews about upcoming farmer’s markets that need helping hands. If a natural disaster occurs, pay attention to the organizations and people needing the most help in the reporting. You’ll know how to give back to the community in the ways it needs assistance most.
4. Try a Volunteer Career
Some careers only accept volunteers because they need the people who are most passionate about the work. Volunteer firefighters are a great example. They feel a drive to help people and love the adrenaline rush of putting out fires.
You could also look into other opportunities based on what’s in your town. A nearby science museum likely needs volunteers to lead hands-on programs throughout the week. Aquariums train volunteers to don scuba gear and feed fish. After you pass a swim test and their scuba diving course, you’ll get hands-on experience with your favorite aquatic creatures.
5. Sponsor Local Teams
Many people want to help their communities, but their busy schedules prevent them from joining events. If you’re one of them, you can still give back if you have a few extra dollars in your budget.
See if your community athletics programs accept donations. You’ll keep public sports teams open for people of all ages, which changes lives. Everyone will retain free spaces to socialize, make friends and develop athletic skills that could open doors to college scholarships.
6. Spread Positive Posts
Find local social media groups where you can keep up with volunteer opportunities. You’ll streamline where you get your information and gain a new way to help people. Make recurring positive posts to garner good energy in your community. As long as you stay away from touchy subjects like politics, you’ll help everyone bond and make your town a better place.
Post happy news like people finding and returning lost pets. Share encouraging quotes or pictures of your family pet. You’ll make the world a better place by spreading positivity where people already spend their time.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself Too
Although you might love helping others, you have to remember to care for yourself too. These are a few ways to maintain your physical and mental health while giving more of yourself to people in need.
Get Extra Rest
You’ll likely need some extra rest after a major volunteering effort. Your body needs to recover from the emotional and physical exertion, so go to bed early. Slow your schedule the next day and delegate when you can. When you feel rested, you can return to volunteering without burning yourself out.
Check Your Emotional Well-Being
How do you know when your emotional energy is running low? Ask yourself helpful check-in questions like:
- What am I worrying about right now?
- Am I struggling to care about things I normally feel passionate about?
- Am I getting emotional support from people in my life?
Caring for others means getting emotionally invested in your volunteer causes. You can’t run on an empty battery. Check in with yourself and take steps to find an emotional balance when you don’t have any more compassion to give. Asking for support from loved ones and seeing a therapist could be the most helpful ways to find a healthy balance if you’re not used to being so in touch with your emotions.
Energize Yourself in Healthy Ways
Don’t forget to restore your physical energy in other ways than sleeping. Drinking water after high-exertion volunteer activities reduces your fatigue by boosting your hydration. Get healthy nutrients from whole foods and minimize your sugar intake to prevent energy crashes. The most minor changes will make the most significant difference in your daily energy.
Make Your World Better
Now that you know how to give back to the community, think about what forms of volunteering will bring you the most joy. If you’re maintaining your physical and mental energy, you’ll get to improve your corner of the world in ways that make life more fun.