Volunteering is the practice of offering assistance without being paid. People who wish to become volunteers can find organizations that are devoted to a variety of causes, from literacy to animal welfare to helping the homeless. Many volunteer organizations will offer training to prospective volunteers before assigning them to a project. If you wish to be a volunteer, keep in mind that some groups will need you to commit to a minimum number of hours. Often times, volunteer organizations are operating on tight budgets and rely on the assistance of volunteers to meet staffing needs. For this reason, you need to be sure that you are able to give the organization the amount of time required.
A good place to research volunteer opportunities is the Internet. If you are interested in a specific cause, for example, helping animals, you can conduct a search that provides a listing of animal welfare organizations in your area. You can then go the website to find out more about the steps you will need to take to become a volunteer. For example, the SPCA has branches in cities across the U.S., and volunteers perform tasks such as cleaning cages, walking dogs, and helping people who want to adopt an animal to fill out the necessary paperwork.
Another way to search for volunteer opportunities is to check out the online listings of organizations such as Volunteers for America. This nonprofit maintains listing of volunteer opportunities nationwide. You can search by city or by the type of volunteer work you wish to do. Volunteers for America is connected with hundred of nonprofit volunteer organizations.
You should be aware that many organizations will want to interview you in person before offering you a volunteer position. If you are going to be working with children, a background check will likely be performed prior to starting training.