Tips for Getting Involved

Inspired to serve, but not sure where to start?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Start by taking the What Type of Citizen Are You? quiz!

There are many ways we can all give and there is something every man, woman and child can do to get involved.  But, before you jump in, give a little thought to how much time you want to commit to — can you do something weekly, monthly, once a year?  Do you want an ongoing commitment or do you want a one-off opportunity?  There are needs for all of these types of volunteers, so don’t worry!  Our recommendation, start slow and go from there — it’s better to over-deliver on your commitment than to under-deliver.

Here are some suggestions to guide you as you determine how best you can serve.

1Define service for yourself.

At Good Citizen we embrace a broad definition of service.  For us, it includes small acts of kindness, volunteering for non-profits, donating money, being an activist and much more.  Decide what service means to you and let that be your guide as you explore the opportunities that exist.  By defining, or redefining, service, you may realize that you are already a service-oriented person.

2Apply your passion.

Think about what you like to do or what issues you care deeply about.  If you apply your passion(s) to your service, your experience is likely to be even more rewarding.  Once you identify what makes you tick, search your phone book or look online for local organizations that work in that area and start calling or emailing.  Or, come up with your own idea that incorporates your passion into service.

3Talk to your family and friends.

Do you know if your family and friends serve?   Many of us don’t talk about the service we do, but if you ask there’s a good chance you’ll learn of some great ways to give back in your community.  And, you might find out something interesting about your friends and family.

4See what your religious organization supports.

If you are part of an organized religion, talk to your leader to get some ideas on how you can help them serve the community.  It might be volunteering in the church or temple, but it could also be helping them with their outreach and service projects.  It’s a very effective way to get connected with those who can benefit from the gift of your time.

5Hit the web.

Like so many things these days, the answer can often be found online. There are a multitude of online tools to help you find volunteer opportunities in your community.  Try the “Find Local Volunteer Opportunities” app, which is powered by, on the homepage.  Or, do a search for volunteer opportunities in your town using your favorite search engine – you may be surprised at what immediately comes up.  Other great sites that can help are: Hands On Network, All For Good or United We Serve.

6Volunteer from home.

There is a new trend in volunteering called mircrovolunteering and it’s great!  It is essentially volunteering right from the comfort of your own home or anywhere else you have an Internet connection.  The projects are found online and typically take under two hours to complete.  It’s everything from giving non-profits advice on marketing plans to developing logos and so much more.  A great website to help you get started is Sparked.

7Apply your vocation.

What do you do for a living? Chances are no matter what it is you can apply your specialized skills to help others. It’s called skills-based volunteering and it’s on the rise. This type of “pro-bono” work was once considered only for those in certain professional services industries (e.g., lawyers, marketers, consultants), but now more and more companies and individuals are applying their broad skills to help organizations around the country. Try asking your company if they are aware of any opportunities while also keeping in mind your professional skills as you evaluate other options. Or, check out Catchafire – a great site that matches skilled volunteers with organizations seeking support.

8Do Your Homework.

Once you have identified an organization you think you want to serve, it’s worth spending a little time researching them to ensure it’s a group you want to be associated with. Have a look at how impactful the organization is – is it delivering on its stated mission? What are its policies – are they inline with your beliefs? Remember, not all non-profits are created equal nor do they treat all people equally.