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Opportunities to apply I-O principles for the purpose of improving societal well-being abound. Choosing the right organization and cause for your unique interests and skill set is important for maximizing your time and contribution. Many organizations offer services for matching professionals with pro-bono opportunities. Use the information to the right to learn about these types of organizations, available opportunities, and things to consider before signing up.

 

SIOP HomeProsocial I-O→Volunteering
 

Prosocial I-O and How You Can Get Involved

 

Volunteering can be fun, fulfilling, and rewarding, both personally and professionally. In today’s technology-driven world, it has never been easier to volunteer, with a number of nonprofits offering services to match volunteers’ unique skill sets with the perfect volunteer opportunities. The following guide can give you an idea of the types of opportunities available and what to consider before signing up.

Before you commit to your volunteer gig, check out these tips for picking the right opportunity and getting the most out of it. Volunteer experience is highly valued by employers too. Recent research suggests that individuals who volunteer have a greater chance finding a job1. So document your experience by adding it to your résumé and your social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

1Spera, C., Ghertner, R., Nerino, A., & DiTommaso, A. (2013). Volunteering as a pathway to employment:Does volunteering increase odds of finding a job for the out of work? Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and evaluation: Washington, DC, 2013).

 

Tips for Picking the Right Volunteer or Pro-Bono Opportunity

 
  1. Identify the causes you're passionate about.

    This is KEY. You won't be inspired to follow through unless you are passionate!
     
  2. Determine how much time you have.

    Some opportunities might only require short spurts of time and some may be a more long term commitment.
     
  3. Contact relevant organizations.

    Be persistent; volunteer coordinators may spend a great deal of time away from their office – so, don’t give up if you don’t hear back after an initial contact attempt.
     
  4. Ask questions. 

    Some nonprofits will be disorganized and ill-prepared for managing volunteers. Don't stay with that kind of situation. If they deserve you, they will be ready to use you effectively.

    Check out their viability and financials (e.g., see Charity Navigator, GuideStar).
     
  5. Start small.

    It's a good idea to volunteer for a small project before getting extensively involved. If it doesn't work out, you can move on.
     
  6. Match your skills to the volunteer opportunity.

    This is especially important for pro-bono work; you’ll make the greatest impact if you’re taking advantage of your strengths.

    Be vocal about your specific skills so that the organization can consider creative ways to utilize them.
     
  7. Be prepared for a challenge.

    If you work for a high-powered corporation, you may get impatient with the way things are done at a nonprofit. Try to refrain from telling them how to do their job.
 

Selected Volunteer Matching and Pro-Bono Organizations

 

The following organizations offer opportunities to match your unique skills to organizations in need.

Topics include: Talent Management, Leadership Development, and Organizational Effectiveness

Taproot Foundation Build
Taproot Foundation makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society by leading, mobilizing and engaging professionals in pro-bono service that drives social change. BUILD uses entrepreneurship as a vehicle to excite and propel low-income and disengaged students through high school to college and career success.
 
BoardSource Playworks
BoardSource advances the public good by building exceptional nonprofit boards and inspiring board service. Playworks improves the health and well-being of children by increasing opportunities for physical activity and safe, meaningful play.
 
Generation Enterprise Ashoka
Generation Enterprise empowers at-risk youth (un- or under-employed) to build marketable skills and create jobs in urban communities around the world. Ashoka discovers and funds Fellows who bring about real social change around the world.
 
Points of Light Foundation Building Bridges Initiative
Points of Light Foundation promotes volunteerism by inspiring, equipping and mobilizing people to take action that will change the world. Building Bridges Initiative ensures that comprehensive services and support systems are consistent with the research on sustained positive outcomes.
 

Other Volunteer Programs

  Online Volunteer Matching Sites

U.S. Government-Sponsored Volunteer Programs

International Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities for Professionals and Executives

 

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