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How to find a volunteer opportunity

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There are so many ways to volunteer and so many reasons to do it. Whether you are looking to expand your CV with some work experience or just want to 'give something back', there are many organisations needing people to help. There is so much more to volunteering than working in a charity shop!
What you'll need: 
An open mind
A computer with internet access
1: 
Before you start it's a good idea to consider how many hours/days you have available for volunteer work. This will help to define suitable opportunities when you start looking.
2: 
It is also useful to consider what sorts of organisations you would be interested to work with (or wouldn't want to work with). Children, animals, old people, disabled people, bereaved, homeless, suffering from a particular condition etc.
3: 
Consider what life experience you have that you may be able to offer. Being a parent, being a carer, bereavment, divorce, debt are just examples, there are many more.
4: 
The first place to go to find a volunteering opportunity is your local volunteer bureau. You can find your nearest office by going to www.do-it.org.uk. See the link at the end of this article. The bureau will have details of all local volunteering opportunities and will be able to help you find one that suits you.
5: 
You can also search online at www.do-it.org.uk for opportunities in your area.
6: 
If there is a particular charity that you would like to work with, look up their website. Most charities have information about volunteering opportunities, and how to apply on their websites.
7: 
Have a look around and see what organisations are near you that may like some help. For example local primary schools often love to have volunteers to read with pupils or help out in activities. Not all volunteering opportunities will be advertised.
8: 
Volunteering does not have to be a regular commitment. You may like to offer to help out at events for fundraising or promoting the charity. You could take part in a sponsored walk, or raise funds by having a coffee morning.
Conclusion: 
Volunteering is very rewarding. For all the time, attention and care that you give, you will get back in bucket loads in many different ways. Beginning volunteering is beginning a journey of giving and receiving that can last a lifetime. Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments box below.
Tips: 
Value the skills you have that you can give to others.
Be prepared to learn lots about the kindness of people.

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