We are stronger together than alone. That simple truth is why community involvement is important not only to those around you, but also … well, you.
Consider these findings from a MassMutual research study:
- Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69 percent) said community involvement is important to their overall well-being and those who place a premium on community involvement have experienced unexpected benefits.
- Roughly half (48 percent) agreed that being involved in communities improves their finances.
In short, people are finding that getting involved in their local neighborhoods and municipalities is paying off. They get back from what they give.
So how can you get involved?
Reflect. Ask yourself: What are you passionate about? Where do you see a need in your local community? What causes really resonate with you? Where would you like to make a difference?
Research. Once you’ve identified your cause or area of focus, do some research to identify organizations that are doing good work in that area. Check out their websites. Visit Charity Navigator to see how those organizations are rated for the quality of services they deliver. And talk to people at the organization or those who are familiar with it to learn more.
Apply yourself. What value can you offer and what do you want to do? Consider all the possibilities to make an impact on the community while meeting your own aspirations. Perhaps general volunteer activities appeal to you, like cleaning up a public space, mentoring a child, or painting a school. Or you may want to apply particular skills to address a more strategic project where your expertise is needed, like technology assistance, financial management, legal services, or marketing. You also might consider a more formal role through participation on a board of directors for a non-profit or volunteer organization. You can find out more about all of these possibilities by speaking with the leadership of the outfits you are interested in. Important tip: Make sure you have a clear and mutual understanding with your organization of choice about expectations for your involvement.
Whatever you choose, remember that non-profit organizations welcome a wide-ranging array of contributions from volunteers. By doing a little homework up front, you can ensure that you will have a fulfilling volunteer experience and that your community will get the best of what you have to offer.
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