The Red Cross is one of the most renowned volunteer organizations in the United States. Not only do they provide training in lifesaving techniques, but they also respond to natural disasters and provide emergency relief both domestically and abroad. Unfortunately, many families and individuals struggle to access nutritious meals, and food banks and soup kitchens are often their only source of sustenance. If you're an animal lover, volunteering at an animal shelter or adoption agency is a great way to get your furry fix.
Non-profit organizations that rely heavily on volunteers are essential to community life, with churches, schools, hospitals, political campaigns, environmental organizations, community recreation organizations, and arts organizations being some of the most prominent examples. At best, these organizations have sufficient resources to hire paid staff to provide administrative support to the volunteers who carry out the organization's service mission. The elderly are particularly important as volunteer resources due to recent changes in employment patterns and longevity. Many community service organizations that began as volunteer efforts now have fully paid employees.
When volunteering is considered to be of marginal importance within an organization, little is invested in developing tasks for volunteers or in recruiting, placing and supervising them. Both the displacement of non-profit organizations by for-profit organizations and the tendency of non-profit organizations for paid employees to displace volunteers have tended to marginalize volunteers. Volunteers have fared better in community service organizations that can afford few, if any, paid employees. From the perspective of volunteers, measures that protect paid staff run the risk of making tasks left to volunteers tedious and of little importance to the organization.
Volunteer organizations provide opportunities to evaluate different interests, meet new people, and contribute to their community. However, when paid professionals gain ground, volunteers are often seen as “amateurs” whose skills and reliability are dubious. Organizations that face multiple diverse demands with limited staffing often depend heavily on volunteers but don't invest enough in volunteer management. The National Retired Volunteer Coalition (NRVC) is a network of corporate programs for retirees that has merged with Volunteers of America, a national non-profit organization providing social services to the elderly, families, children and youth, the homeless, and people in correctional facilities.
In some cases, the distinction between paid and unpaid work for organizations is blurred because “volunteers” receive some financial compensation in the form of a stipend, subsistence allowance, or reimbursement of expenses. Volunteering is an invaluable way for individuals to give back to their communities while gaining valuable experience and skills. It can also be a great way for retirees to stay active and engaged in their communities while giving back. Volunteer opportunities abound in many different areas such as healthcare, education, environmental protection, animal welfare, disaster relief and more.
Non-profit organizations rely heavily on volunteers to carry out their mission and provide essential services to their communities. Volunteering can be a great way for individuals to gain experience in a particular field or explore new interests while helping others in need. In some cases, the distinction between paid and unpaid work for organizations is blurred because “volunteers” receive some financial compensation in the form of a stipend or subsistence allowance. Volunteerism is an invaluable way for individuals to give back to their communities while gaining valuable experience and skills. Whether you're looking for a way to give back or just want to explore new interests while helping others in need, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities available.