If one of the joys of your retirement is NOT being tied down to a long term commitment, volunteering for a single event or short term project is more appealing than signing up for a longer term commitment. Such opportunities range from large one day events with no specific skills required, such as a State beach clean-up, to very small events requiring special skills, such as judging a science fair. Last quarter’s volunteer tip was to “grab a buddy”, the quarter’s tip is to “grab an opportunity”.
The Intel Retiree Website posts volunteer opportunities and resources for locating opportunities. All posted opportunities either list an Intel Retiree advocate or are opportunities endorsed by Intel for their regular employees. The Intel Retiree advocates listed are personally familiar with the opportunity and are will help other retirees connect with the opportunity. The Volunteer committee is working with the Website Committee to make it easier to post timely single event opportunities. If you are would like to have such an opportunity posted, please contact the chair of the Intel Retiree Committee, Ben Manny, at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
The USA Service website, www.usaservice.org , was originally created to facilitate volunteer events for National Service Day, in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King. The site now lists events not tied to this time. It provides a search function to find events of various types filtered by user specific date ranges and a mileage radius around a given zip code. Events are shown on a map with links provided to sign-up to help for the event. One can also post an event to be listed, but this requires a signing-up for an account. Posted events are targeted for 30 to 100 volunteers. The site is simply and easy to use, but has a limited number of events and some events are not really volunteer events. Unlike the other sites below, this site only lists events or short term projects.
Another site, www.volunteermatch.org, lists many opportunities searchable by location and key words. While I found many more opportunities than the USA Service site, only a few were single events, most were non-profits looking for volunteers to help with various projects. To engage with a listed opportunity, a user needs to register contact information with the site. The Volunteer Match organization will then email your interest to the organization for them to contact you. The site has matched over 4 million folks to the non-profits that have registered with the site. The site will post user reviews and ratings of listed opportunities. A search with my zip code and the key word engineering, listed an opportunity to help build an exhibit for Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).
The site, www.idealist.org, is a project of Action Without Boarders, a non-profit with the goal of providing a global clearinghouse for other nonprofits and those seeking to help. The site lists many types of resources besides volunteer opportunities, including jobs, internships, materials, speakers, etc. Opportunities are listed from many countries and the site provides extensive search options that are tailored to what is being searched. For example, if one searchers for Education opportunities, you can refine the search to kids, teens, adults, seniors, families, or groups. I was able to quickly locate a local opportunity to teach computer skills to the help bridge the digital divide for low income residents. The site gives contact information for the listed opportunities and other resources. Registered users can post opportunities and other needs. This would be a useful site if you were already engaged with a non-profit organization and needed additional volunteers or other resources.
The three sites above were all mentioned in a February 12, 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “A Virtual Matchmaker for Volunteers”. This article focused on where to find short term volunteer projects. The first site is the only site that is limited to volunteer events or short term projects. While the other sites all contain some short term opportunities most of the listing are for longer term projects. With a little bit of research you should be able to find a rewarding volunteer opportunity that fits and enhances your retirement lifestyle.