You have decided to pay it forward.Maybe a nonprofit or religious organization made a difference in your life, and you want to help others.
Maybe you felt a void in your life after retiring and need a sense of purpose. Maybe you want to make your community a better place to live, work or play.
Whatever your reason, volunteering your time can be a personally fulfilling experience.
There are lots of need for volunteers; and lots of people giving their time. More than 62.6 million Americans (or 1 in 4) volunteered for good causes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion, based on an estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.
If you decide to volunteer after retirement, what is the need and where do you look? Here are a few ideas:
Tutoring children and adults – If you are a retired educator, you obviously bring remarkable experience and skill to this need. Your local library or school district foundation often need qualified tutors for their youth tutoring programs. Many adults also need help preparing for their GED exam or learning English as a second language.
Driving seniors to appointments – Local nonprofits that serve the elderly often need people with flexible schedules to take patients to their physician appointments or to the grocery store. Besides helping someone get the care he or she needs, you just might make a new friend.
Supporting library services – Libraries often depend on volunteers to assist patrons, organize shelves, help with public events and teach special programs. Check out your local branch for opportunities, even if you can contribute only a couple hours per month to start.
Helping at a food pantry – Most of these organizations are volunteer driven by nonprofit or churches. Their operations need assistance with raising funds, collecting food, keeping records and working with clients.
Caring for rescue animals – If you have an unbridled love for dogs and cats, local rescue shelters could use your help feeding and comforting animals looking for forever homes. They also need volunteers to help with office work, fundraising and other operational tasks.
Becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate - Appointed by judges, CASAs watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes.
Supporting a political campaign – Don’t get discouraged by the political discourse you see on television. You can change the tone of the process by getting involved. Start by helping candidates for community offices – remember, all politics is local. You can make phone calls and help with fundraisers for local candidates, who might be a friend or someone you knew from your job. (Maybe even a former student.) Win or lose, you will be part of our democratic process.
There are many other ways to volunteer. Go to your local United Way office and ask if any of their agencies need help. Local hospitals, nursing homes and museums also depend on volunteers to serve their missions.
You also can check your local newspaper, which often publishes brief articles about nonprofit or community organizations needing help.
In Indiana, Serve Indiana connects people who want to volunteer with the perfect opportunity. Serve Indiana works in collaboration with the Indiana Association of Volunteer Centers.
Here are some other websites that can help your search for volunteer opportunities:United Way Volunteers
Related: Do You Have That Volunteer Spirit?