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Resolving to Do Good- Will You Volunteer in 2012?

by Sarah B.

As the holidays approach, it’s time to start thinking about what you’ve accomplished this year.

Did you get a job?  Graduate?  Move to a new city?

Byrd Theater New Years Ball

The Ball Drop flickr photo by Gamma Man

It’s time to celebrate what we’ve done and decide what we’ll do next.  It’s time for New Year’s resolutions.  Volunteering is one of the most popular resolutions and for good reason.  Volunteering benefits your community, and it can even be good for your health.  If you’ve decided you want to add service to your life in 2012, you’ll want to read more of my Millennial Chat posts in the upcoming year.  But to make sure your commitment to volunteering doesn’t end up like that unused yoga class Groupon from last year (you know exactly which one I mean), ask yourself these questions:

Why am I motivated to volunteer?

Many Millennials will tell you that they want to volunteer in order to meet new people or because they want to gain new skills.  While these are great advantages to volunteering, a recent study shows that service will benefit you the most when your motivation is to help others.  Look around your community.  What do you feel passionate about? How can you help others the most?  Your resolution will stick if someone else is really counting on you.

How much time do I have to volunteer?

Once you’ve discovered your motivation, you’re probably going to feel very inspired to start helping out as much as you can!  A group is planting trees next weekend?  You’re there.  A homeless child needs tutoring?  Sign you up.  The animal shelter is hosting a fundraiser?  You love puppies.  WAIT.  Before you overcommit, decide how much time you have for volunteering.  Do you have time once a week?  Twice a month?  Maybe you’d like to explore micro-volunteering at home from your iPad.  You’re more likely to follow through with your commitment if it fits into your schedule.

Would I rather write a check?

While service can be a very rewarding resolution, maybe there are other goals that you’d like to put at the top of your list this year.  If you decide that you can’t commit your time, explore your giving options.  Millennials are pretty generous people, and you don’t need a lot of money to make a difference.  Want to make a philanthropic resolution?  Resolve to become a monthly donor for an organization you care about, at whatever level works for you.

Where does volunteering fit into your list of resolutions?

To learn more from and connect with Sarah, follow her on Twitter – @SarahKathleen
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3 Responses so far.

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m on a volunteer committee for Children’s HeartLink, where I also was an intern, and it is a great opportunity. I get to help out an organization I love, continue to work on my marketing/pr skills and have a free lunch.

    Volunteering doesn’t have to be a big commitment, but it’s something I think everyone should try and make time for at least once a month. Find an opportunity that aligns with your skills, interst and commitment level, then run with it!

  2. Resolving to Do Good- Will You Volunteer in 2012?

  3. A post on this RT @casefoundation: If #volunteering is on your resolutions list what steps are you taking to get there?