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Paul serves as the Community Impact Manager of United Way of Rock River Valley.

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Volunteering for Millennials: How to Find Your Cause & Make a Difference

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More than 70 percent of millennials volunteered for at least one hour annually. Millennials are among the most “generous” and optimistic generation in history, reports Brigid Schulte of The Washington Post. However, organizations cannot simply rely on employer-solicited contributions when working with this group.

Instead, organizations must offer volunteer opportunities that align with millennials’ goals, skills and passions. Since millennials are more likely to volunteer or donate without being asked, it is important for millennials to find causes they care about. So, use this guide to help you find your ideal way to give back to your community.

1. Identify Your Primary Skills and Passions.

The first step to finding your ideal way to volunteer lies in understanding your skills and passions, reports Kerry Hannon of Forbes magazine. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are you good at?
  • Do you like working independently or with others?
  • Have you volunteered in the past?
  • Did you like it, or would you prefer a different setting?
  • Do you have formal training in any area that could be used when volunteering?

2. Consider Time Commitments.

Once you have thought about your passions and skills, you will need to start thinking about your availability. It is important to sign up for volunteer activities that fit your schedule, and while you may want to spend extra time giving back, always take time for yourself as well. This will help prevent burnout and keep your passion burning.

3. Look for Volunteer Opportunities Across Social Media.

Social media is an excellent tool for finding volunteer opportunities for both local, regional and national organizations and services. Join social media groups that sponsor or support your passions, such as United Way of Rock River Valley, and watch for events or activities that require volunteers.

4. Help Youngsters Improve Their Reading Proficiency.

Reading skills are often taken for granted. Children learn to read through the end of third grade, but learning in fourth grade and beyond requires high-level reading skills. Poor reading proficiency creates a barrier to growing as an individual and becoming a productive member of society. At United Way of Rock River Valley, millennials can volunteer for I READ. This program lets volunteers work with two Kindergarten students for 20 minutes during the school day to improve their reading skills. In fact, volunteers can continue working with their students through third grade too.

Connect With a Reputable Organization, and Start Volunteering Today.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to find the ideal way to volunteer. However, you can explore many ways to volunteer by digging deeper into established organizations or charities in your area. For example, look through local organizations’ websites for volunteer needs and other causes. In fact, United Way of Rock River Valley lists all volunteer needs, opportunities and events online. More details can be viewed for each event, including contact details and how to sign up. Visit United Way of Rock River Valley online volunteer center now to see how you can make a difference.    

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Guest Wednesday, 18 October 2017