How Family Volunteer Opportunities Work

Choosing a Family Volunteer Opportunity

The opportunities for volunteering are endless. You could plant a garden, build a home, tutor a child, act as a mentor, take care of an animal in need -- all while spending good old fashioned quality time with your family. But how do you decide which activity to choose?

When selecting a volunteering activity for your family, there are a few factors you may want to consider. The ages of your children, the skills of each family member and the amount of time you have, are all components that will help you determine the best fit for your family.

In order to find an activity that will highlight a skill of each person, start by outlining the abilities and interests of each family member. Including everyone in the decision-making process will support the idea of family-togetherness and teamwork -- and it will promote equal participation from everyone. You may even want to have each person write a list of the ways he or she could contribute to a volunteer project [source: Khaitan].

Then, after you have put together a list of possible volunteering options, narrow them down by thinking realistically about the amount of time your family can commit. When you are motivated to help others, it can be easy to become a bit overzealous. But keep in mind that if you become overwhelmed in the beginning, volunteering can quickly seem like an added chore instead of a fun, family activity. So be sure to consider the work, school and extra-curricular schedules of each person in your family [sources: Khaitan, United Way].

Also keep in mind that the project you choose should not be too simple. A little bit of challenge will encourage growth, as well as help retain interest in the project [source: Nefstead].

If you are unsure of where to look for family-oriented volunteer opportunities, try contacting family-focused groups such as parent teacher associations, public libraries and local community centers [sources: Khaitan, United Way].

In exchange for donating time, many volunteer organizations offer benefits to their members. See the next page for details.