My first memory of volunteering was when I was 7 years old. My older brother was in the Boy Scouts and I tagged along for their Habitat for Humanity project. I still recall that day: it was warm but breezy, everyone was in a good mood, and we finished ahead of schedule. Granted, I was too young to do any heavy lifting, but I remember feeling a wave of emotion when we completed the project.
Flash forward to now – I’m still addicted to that feeling. From helping various animal welfare organizations, to partnering with local food banks, to being an animal keeper at a museum, volunteering has brought me so many fond memories.
I still love giving back to the place I now call home, the San Francisco Bay Area. Many animal shelters in California are short-staffed, including the City of Stockton Animal Shelter. My background is in marketing, and in my spare time, I help manage their SEM (search engine marketing) and act as webmaster to keep their website up to date. It is extremely fulfilling to provide my expertise when they otherwise would not have staff for it.
And with a love for animals, I recently just started at Rabbit Rescue as a rabbit socializer! I spend 2 hours a week hanging out with rabbits to make them perfect pets. From just sitting with them to get them used to humans or playing with them to give them exercise, it is the perfect excuse to get out and help animals in need!
As you can tell, I have a soft spot for animals. Even as a young child, I wanted to be the voice for them. As I grew older and gained more professional talents, skilled volunteering is where I found the greatest reward. Utilizing my marketing skills for good AND playing with rabbits – now that’s volunteer heaven!
Many people do not want to bring work home. But what if you were using your “work” to help a cause? That is why I think skilled volunteering is so important. Countless nonprofit organizations do not have the budget to hire for every skill. With skilled volunteering, professionals can set aside a few hours a month for specific tasks like graphic designing, programming, marketing, writing, accounting, etc. Next time you’re looking for a volunteer gig, consider using your professional skills to make a difference!