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  • Question: Who can volunteer?


    Anyone can volunteer!  Put your interests, talents, and passion to work!  Learn new skills.  Make new friends.  Travel.  Make a difference!

  • Question: What can I do?

    • One-time events like Days of Service or community festivals or charitable events. These opportunities allow volunteers to participate in short-term service activities for a greater cause without making a long-term commitment. Consider volunteering as a family. Think about looking for a volunteer opportunity suitable for parents and children to do together, or for a husband and wife to take on as a team. Do some volunteering as you travel on vacation. Get more great ideas from the Huffington Post.

    • Skills-based Volunteering. Skills-based volunteering (SBV) is an innovative approach that is rapidly gaining recognition as a powerful driver of both social impact and business value. Skills-based volunteerism utilizes the skills, experience, talents and education of volunteers and matches them with the needs of nonprofits. By leveraging all types of knowledge and expertise, SBV helps build and sustain nonprofits’ capacity to achieve their missions successfully. Individual skilled volunteers may offer their particular expertise to a nonprofit agency, while corporate SBV involves employee volunteers working on projects for a nonprofit organization through a structured program developed and managed by their employer. SBV is a strategic type of volunteerism that exponentially expands the impact of nonprofits by incorporating a whole range of skills that strengthen the operations and services of nonprofit organizations.
    • Ongoing activities such as tutoring, mentoring, or delivering Meals on Wheels. Prefer to have a regular schedule? Sign up for an ongoing activity that happens every week or month at the same time.
    • Full-time service such as AmeriCorps, Senior Corps or the Peace Corps. Make a significant contribution to your community or the world. Change your life as much as you change the lives of those you serve.
    • Projects you can do from anywhere. Many agencies offer in-home or virtual opportunities, from providing accounting services to stuffing envelopes. Don’t be afraid to contact an organization that you’d like to help just because you cannot travel to their site. Virtual volunteering? Yes, there is such a thing! If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organizations now offer the opportunity to do volunteer work online. Other activities you can do from home: make quilts or clothing, knit or crochet, offer your skills as a graphic artist, website designer, marketing expert, or grantwriter.
    • Design your own project. Haven’t found the right volunteer opportunity in your area? Why not lead your own project? Browse through the do-it-yourself toolkits at Create the Good and HandsOnNetwork for ideas and step by step instructions.
      • Help out in times of disaster. Register as a volunteer with an "affiliated" organization such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. Volunteer Iowa is the lead agency for unaffiliated volunteer management during a disaster and coordinates activities with the State Emergency Operations Center. Create a volunteer profile and indicate an interest in volunteer opportunities related to natural or accidental disasters. By registering your experience and skills, emergency management officials will be able to quickly contact you when your assistance is needed. 
    • Question: Where can I easily find volunteer opportunities?


      Volunteer Iowa's online volunteer matching system.  Look for volunteer opportunities, events, or your favorite agencies. Our online volunteer matching system gives you instant access to opportunities across the state. Sign up for a free account to track your hours, receive announcements when your favorite organization sends out a call for volunteers, or register to help in times of disaster. 

      You can also connect with your local Volunteer Connector Organization.  These centers, located in several communities throughout Iowa, are experts in volunteer management and are well-versed in community organizations, upcoming projects and skill-based volunteering. One of their primary goals is to help get individuals matched with a local volunteer opportunity they will enjoy. 

    • Question: Why Volunteer?


      Through volunteer service, people strengthen and improve the quality of life within their communities, and help themselves and others to live happier and more productive lives.  Did you know that recent federal research finds unemployed individuals who volunteer are 27% more likely to find work than non-volunteers?  And, that individuals who volunteer live longer, healthier and better lives?

      Bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with your skills and enthusiastic spirit, which in itself is a priceless gift.  Learn new skills and make new friends!  What you’ll get back will be immeasurable!  

    • Question: Can volunteering help me find a job?


      Yes!  Research has proven that volunteering is associated with an increased likelihood of finding employment for all volunteers regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area, or the job market conditions.  Learn more about Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment.

    • Question: How do I identify the right volunteer opportunity for me?

      • Research the causes or issues important to you. Look for a group that works with issues about which you feel strongly.

      • Consider the skills you have to offer. If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for volunteer work that would incorporate these aspects of your personality.

      • Learn a new skill by volunteering. Try something you always wanted to learn or to gain exposure to a new situation.

      • Combine your goals. Look for volunteer opportunities that will help you achieve other goals for your life, or explore career options.

      • Explore the possibilities!  Most of us know that hospitals, libraries, and churches use volunteers for a great deal of their work, but there are a wide variety of volunteer opportunities that you may enjoy. 
    • Question: How can I have a successful volunteer experience?

      • Don't over commit your schedule.  Make sure the volunteer hours you want to give will fit into your hectic life.  How about starting with 50 hours per year?  That’s less than one hour each week!  Learn more about Governor Branstad’s Call to Service and decide how you will answer the question: “What’s Your 50?
      • Realize that nonprofits may have questions too.  While most nonprofits are eager to find volunteer help, they have to be careful when accepting the services you offer and may have certain screening requirements to complete depending on the activities you'll be involved with.
      • Ask questions.  If special skills are needed, is training provided?  For all-day activities, is lunch provided or do you bring your own?  Do you need to bring gardening gloves, or any special tools?