The volunteering landscape is a dynamic entity; it shifts and changes with time, current affairs, and the culture of the community. These developments affect how volunteers interact with nonprofit organizations, as well as how they view volunteering as a whole, and it is critical to understand and navigate the changes in the volunteering landscape. That way, organizations can map volunteer engagement in service opportunities, and volunteers can find the opportunities that best suit their livelihoods.
Currently, there are a multitude of factors that are shifting the volunteering landscape in America: the increasing elderly population, the understanding of the correlation between volunteering and skill building, social media, and most apparent, the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, the population of older individuals in America is increasing due to the sizable amount of “Baby Boomers” reaching their senior years. As Baby Boomers grow older, they have a greater need for healthcare and the services of the younger generation. These services come in the form of volunteering and caretaking. Furthermore, many of those Baby Boomers, once they retire, will also turn to volunteering in their free time, leading to a rapid increase in volunteer engagement.
Second, there has been a recent emphasis on volunteering for skill-building in the nation; in other words, volunteers have begun to realize that community service teaches valuable practical skills that can be applied in the workplace. The potential to gain resume-building skills and expertise has drawn many in the working class to volunteer as well. Overall, these effects have caused an escalation in volunteer engagement over multiple generations.
While many people believe that the primary focus of volunteering is the actual work put into service, the real focus of volunteering is social interaction. Volunteering brings you closer to your community and gives you the ability to connect with new people in an altruistic environment. Many people have noticed this benefit to volunteering, and, through social media, have expressed its importance. Social media, which has only grown in popularity in recent years, has been a cardinal agent in increasing volunteer engagement. It helps to underscore the values of volunteering, and it also has made it easier for people to find service opportunities to participate in. Observing the trends in social media in terms of volunteering, a prediction can be made that volunteering in groups will become heavily popular in the volunteering landscape.
Of course, the biggest effect on the volunteering landscape has been the pandemic; the spread of Covid-19 has been detrimental on all organizations, especially nonprofits, who rely on in-person volunteers to keep their organizations functioning. According to trends analyzed by VolunteerMatch, many volunteers were afraid to participate in volunteer opportunities due to a fear of exposure to the virus, as well as a fear of exposing others. For the first time in years, volunteer engagement faltered due to the disruption of the pandemic. However, the volunteer landscape adapts. Nonprofit organizations began to implement virtual opportunities to reinvigorate volunteer engagement, and the amount of virtual opportunities offered by nonprofits increased by 159% between March 2020 to October 2020. Encouraged by the safety and easy access of virtual opportunities, volunteers became even more engaged in service.
What can be gained from this information? It is useful to understand the volunteering landscape if you are interested in community service. This knowledge can help you recognize the current trends in volunteering and plan your volunteering efforts accordingly. If you want some guidance on some interesting opportunities, visit Triangle Cares’ website for a variety of easily accessible service options.
The start of the new year symbolizes change and new beginnings. For many people, this means that it is time to decide on a New Year’s resolution so that they can start 2022 off on the right foot. There are popular resolutions to which many people adhere: eating healthier, working out more, getting more sleep. For a majority of people, resolutions are a self-interested ordeal; it’s a habit or routine that only concerns themselves. However, 2022 is the perfect year to start forming resolutions that impact or influence other people. After spending almost two years dealing with Covid-19, 2022 is the year to help build your community into a stronger, more loving place. What’s the best way to do this? Volunteering! Here are some reasons why volunteering can be a beneficial resolution for this year:
Want to make this year memorable? Start by getting involved in your community today! At Triangle Cares, we update our calendar on our website to provide prospective volunteers with current service opportunities in the Triangle area. Check out our “Events” page or “Nonprofit” pages to find the best volunteer opportunity for you!
Volunteering during the holiday season helps to bolster the joyous spirit and bring people in the community closer together; however, finding a service opportunity during this time can be daunting. That’s why Triangle Cares is here to help! At Triangle Cares, we have compiled a list of four great volunteering or donating opportunities from multiple nonprofits that will help you to spread good cheer! Here are some great ways you can get involved:
If any of these volunteer opportunities resonate with you, make sure to sign up during the holiday season! It’s the season of giving, so let’s make sure to give everyone the love and support they need!
Since December has just begun, the holiday season is underway! No matter what you celebrate during this time, the holiday spirit is contagious and can be felt all throughout the community. For the most part, people see the holidays as a time to spend with family, open gifts, eat delicious food, and follow traditions. This year, however, you should try starting a new holiday tradition: volunteering. Volunteering during the holiday season is the perfect way to spread holiday cheer and show kindness and love towards people within your community. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider volunteering during the holidays:
If you are a high schooler like myself, especially a high school senior, then you are familiar with the stress and pressure of filling out your college applications. Applying to college can be daunting, and many students find themselves worrying about their GPAs and job experience, wondering if what they have accomplished over the past four years is enough to impress the colleges they seek to enroll in. Writing an application is a way of building a reputation or image of yourself for a college, and while many students are worried about quantifiable aspects of their transcripts, like grades, there is another part of the application that students overlook: service. Community service is a critical activity to add to your college application for a variety of reasons.
1. Volunteering for community service creates a drive to action and a propensity for leadership. Students who show an extensive interest in service opportunities prove to colleges that they are capable of being a leader within their community. They show that they are able to be hardworking team players who can make an impact in a real-world situation.
2. Volunteering for community service helps a student learn to work outside of their school environment. Sometimes, students are more comfortable searching for opportunities within the confines of their school. However, volunteering outside of school shows colleges that students aren’t afraid of tackling unfamiliar tasks and managing new environments.
3. Volunteering for community service builds a selfless passion for others. This is the most obvious benefit of volunteering. Colleges can see when a student has applied themselves to a volunteer opportunity because they are really passionate about the cause, and they will appreciate that a student is showing initiative and working to pursue these interests.
In summary, volunteering works to create a better you. Community service is a great character builder, which is why so many colleges urge their applicants to find a volunteer opportunity that they are really passionate about. For high schoolers looking for ways to serve their community, there are many nonprofits that Triangle Cares partners with that provide service opportunities for students. Check out our website for more information about these organizations and how you can get involved. Remember: sometimes quantity is not the most important thing to consider with your college application. It’s the quality of your experiences that is truly valuable.
About Habitat for Humanity of Wake County
Habitat Wake has been offering affordable homeownership opportunities to Wake County families since 1985. In 2018, Habitat Wake merged with Habitat for Humanity of Johnston County and now serves both counties. In Habitat Wake’s thirty years of service, they have built more than 850 safe, affordable, energy-efficient homes.
One in four families in our community is cost-burdened, meaning they pay too much of their income toward housing at the expense of other necessities like groceries, healthcare and education. To help meet this need, Habitat Wake offers homeownership opportunities for families making less than 80% AMI, and preserves existing affordable homes. Habitat Wake also advocates for policy change that will increase access to housing for everyone
Through support of our community, provided by corporations, faith groups, foundations individual donors and proceeds from Habitat for Humanity Restores, Habitat Wake is able to build homes, communities and hope.
Our faith community is pivotal to our success! Hundreds of congregations partner with us each year to raise funds, send volunteers, pray for our community and advocate for affordable housing. Our first mission principle is to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. We undertake our work to demonstrate the love and teachings of Jesus, acting in all ways in accord with the belief that God’s love and grace abound for all, and that we must be “hands and feet” of that love and grace in our world. We believe that, through faith, the miniscule can be multiplied to accomplish the magnificent, and that, in faith, respectful relationships can grow among all people.
Habitat Wake has many ways to get involved! You can volunteer at our Construction sites, at any of 10 Habitat for Humanity ReStores in the Triangle, or in the office as a skills-based volunteer.
On our Habitat construction sites we work alongside future homebuyers to build new homes. We do everything from laying the foundation to painting the walls. No experience is necessary: we have permanent staff and AmeriCorps members to help guide you. Construction sites are open to volunteers Thursday through Saturday. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and fully vaccinated.
Learn more about volunteering with our construction team: https://www.habitatwake.org/volunteer-build-habitat-wake.
The Habitat for Humanity ReStores offer volunteer opportunities too! Volunteers work side-by-side with staff with responsibilities including helping customers find what they need, taking donations and thanking donors, making sure the lights and houseware departments are organized and many more. Volunteers must attend an orientation before volunteering. We have orientation twice a week and we do not accept walk-ins.
Learn more about volunteering at the ReStores: https://www.trianglerestores.org/volunteer
When deciding where you want to volunteer, you should carefully consider each nonprofit before you dedicate your efforts to their cause. To ensure that the organization you are supporting is legitimate, you should ‘vet’ the nonprofit, or evaluate and take a critical examination of the organization. Sometimes, nonprofits use flashy advertising and marketing strategies in order to garner people’s support, but in reality, they are not helping the people they claim to support to the best of their ability. Below, I have created a list of steps you should take to confirm that the nonprofit you wish to support is legitimate and effective.
About Urban Ministries of Wake County
In 1981, Urban Ministries of Wake County was founded when congregations of diverse faiths and denominations realized their community members lacked the basic necessities of food, medicine, and shelter. Their mission is to serve and advocate for those in poverty by providing these needs and more. In the 40 years since its founding, it has grown immensely, providing food to more than 30,000 people a year! In 2017, Urban Ministries was named the largest Food Pantry in Wake County to allow families to choose their food instead of being given pre-bagged food. Their Open Door Clinic also allows 1,500 uninsured adults to receive the care they need. In addition, they have a shelter dedicated to helping homeless single women. If you want to learn more about Urban Ministries, watch the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWrz5SnnYMs
Helen Wright Center for Women
In 2000, The Ark Shelter, which was the emergency shelter that Urban Ministries provided, became focused on homeless single women. A year later, the shelter was renamed the Helen Wright Center for Women after the agency’s first director, Sister Helen Wright. In June 2020, a new 73-bed Helen Wright Center for Women opened, with the growth enabling service to more women in need. What makes this shelter special is that it is not just a place to sleep - it also actively prepares the women for the world. The shelter offers counseling services, workforce development, job readiness, and life skills classes. The shelter includes an initial 14-day stay and if a woman needs additional help, she can request to enter a program bed. After their initial stay, the Helen Wright Center for Women offers a program where the women can begin to save money toward a lease of their own. This center is amazing because it not only saves the women, but it helps build them back up.
Urban Ministries feels blessed to have over 1,600 volunteers each year, and you could be one of them! Volunteer opportunities range from volunteering at the Food Pantry, at the Helen Wright Center, at the Open Door Clinic, or greeting at the front desk. There are differing age limits for each volunteer opportunity, but you could start as young as 13 at the Food Pantry! Volunteering at Urban Ministries is an amazing way to give back to your community and help those who are in a time of need.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please click this link: