Giving Back To Your Community: Here’s How To Start

June 24, 2014

We at Fast Horse like to keep busy. Whether it’s work, play, family time or hobbies, we’re a group of busy bees.

And one of the things we’re encouraged to do is to give back to our communities by utilizing our time and talents. Almost all of us at Fast Horse volunteer in some way. My colleagues volunteer with Stillwater Public Library, the Minnesota Daily, Bolder Options, Minnesota Land Trust, Cornerstone, American Cancer Society, Franconia Sculpture Park and the University of Minnesota Foundation, to name a few.

Volunteer. It's good for the soul.

Volunteer. It’s good for the soul.

As for me, my first meeting as a member of the Board of Directors for The Arc Greater Twin Cities is this evening. I’ve been volunteering with the organization in varying capacities for more than five years now, and I’m incredibly honored and excited to have the opportunity to take my commitment to the next level.

After announcing my position on The Arc’s board on my Facebook profile, I had dozens of people congratulating me on the honor and wishing me luck in my new endeavor. I also heard from many people wondering how I got started, and lamenting about how they would love to do something like this, but don’t know how.

I was first introduced to The Arc by a college professor of mine who used to serve on its board, but that’s definitely not the only way to make a connection and get started.

Whether you’re looking for an ongoing commitment or just a one-off volunteer opportunity, below are a few places to start. Let me thank you in advance for giving back. Your community appreciates you!

  • The LEAD Project – an organization that exists solely to connect young professionals in the charitable and philanthropic communities of the Twin Cities. Perfect for those looking to volunteer in an ongoing manner.
  • HandsOn Twin Cities – Lists a variety of volunteer opportunities – from “done-in-a-day” projects to long-term and skill-based opportunities with 250-plus nonprofit partners.
  • VolunteerMatch.com– A national service that lists volunteer opportunities in major cites across the country. From ongoing opportunities to one-off calls for help, this site has it all, and you can drill down by interest.
  • Minnesota Council of Nonprofits – The largest state association of nonprofits is also home to a very robust nonprofit job board. While it includes paid, full-time agency positions, you can also search for opportunities as a “Board Member.”
  • Arc’s Value Village – Had to get a plug in for The Arc! If you’re looking for a fun, energetic opportunity, consider volunteering at The Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores. Use this handy calendar to schedule volunteer shifts at one of their location across the metro – either for an individual or for a group!
  • Or, try to design your own volunteer opportunity. Do some research and find a nonprofit organization that interests you, and reach out to them proactively to see if they could use your skill set. An energetic, passionate volunteer is rarely turned away!