DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: Where’s the best place to find good volunteer opportunities? Since I retired, I’d like to do some volunteering, but most of the opportunities that I know of don’t get me too excited. What can you tell me? — Unexcited volunteer

DEAR VOLUNTEER: For many retirees, finding a volunteer opportunity that satisfies your interests, uses your talents and matches your availability can be challenging. Fortunately, there are some great new resources that can help you search for volunteer opportunities in your area or even create one on your own. Here’s what you should know.

GETTING STARTED

Volunteering is a great way for retirees to make a positive contribution to the community — not to mention that it’s good for your health, too. But how can you find the right opportunity for you? Here are some key questions to ask yourself to help get you pointed in the right direction.

What types of organizations or activities are you interested in?

How much time are you willing to give: once a week, a few times a month, or every so often?

What kind of skills can you offer a volunteer organization?

Where and how do you want to serve?

What do you want to gain from your experience (for example, meet new people, learn new skills, help those in need, exposure to a particular issue)?

WHERE TO LOOK

One of the best resources for locating volunteer opportunities in your community is at serve.gov, a website managed by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Serve.gov works with a massive search engine called “All for Good” that lets you look for volunteer opportunities in your community that appeal to you.

Hosted by Google, “All for Good” lists thousands of opportunities from nonprofits and volunteer listing organizations across the U.S.

And if you don’t find anything in your area that sparks your interest, serve.gov can even help you create your own volunteer project. They offer an online do-it-yourself toolkit to help you develop a project, and will let you register it on the “All for Good” search engine so you can recruit others to join you.

Another great site that can help you search for do-good opportunities is createthegood.org. Developed by AARP, this site is geared towards 50-plus volunteers and offers a bevy of tools, tips and videos that are very helpful.

SENIOR CORPS

If you’re age 55 or older, the Senior Corps is another volunteer option you should check into.

Senior Corps matches retirees with community projects and organizations that need experienced volunteer help. It provides training and guidance and gives volunteers the opportunity to choose specific projects that suit their interests, talents, experience and availability.

Here are the three programs Senior Corps offers:

RSVP: A one-stop-shopping for volunteers who want to find rewarding community service opportunities with flexible time commitments. RSVP volunteers are also eligible to receive reimbursement for mileage and insurance coverage while on assignment.

Senior Companion Program: This brings together volunteers with homebound seniors who have difficulty with day-to-day living tasks. Senior companions serve between 15 and 40 hours per week making routine visits, assisting with shopping, light chores and interacting with doctors.

Some volunteers may even qualify to earn a tax-free, hourly stipend.

Foster Grandparent Program: This program matches volunteers with kids in the community who have exceptional needs. Volunteers provide 15 to 40 hours of service per week and may also qualify for the tax-free hourly stipend.

To learn more about Senior Corps and find out what may be available in your area, visit seniorcorps.gov or call 800-424-8867.

 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

 

— Hometown Content