Volunteerism can take on a variety of forms and many organizations offer unique opportunities. They are each equally rewarding, and it definitely “pays to volunteer.” But after the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, I thought I would share a few volunteering opportunities that can make a difference for those at home and abroad. Each of these are organizations I have personally volunteered with, and were an integral part in establishing my own rewarding career.
UNICEF is a wonderful organization that assists children around the world with an emphasis on impoverished or endangered children. The everyday acts of heroism and courage were made known to me by Ewan McGregor, which has made it a mission to use his star power to bring attention to this organization’s mission. While most of us aren’t able to jump on a flight bound for Central Asia, UNICEF has developed numerous programs you can join locally to have a global reach.
If you are an ambitious student seeking a challenge, connect with a UNICEF volunteer coordinator to obtain more details on how you can start a local school-based UNICEF club, which allows you to raise awareness while helping children in need all around the world!
FOR THE RESUME
When I am sifting through an endless pile of resumes, one thing that will stand out is experience with UNICEF. This multi-national organization has countless opportunities to obtain applicable experience while on a young professional’s or student’s schedule. If you are seeking an international career, this organization can expose you to the inner workings of a large-scale non-governmental organization (NGO) while learning more about international culture and events. International experience is something that can give you the much-needed edge over the hundreds of other applications coming through a recruiters door.
Skills obtained: International Relations, NGO Administration, Management
AMERICAN RED CROSS
The American Red Cross is an organization that is close to my heart, as this is an organization that goes above and beyond during disasters. When I started my career, I was a firefighter and, while on the scene of a house fire in the depths of winter, the American Red Cross pulled up and immediately began making a difference with the family. The family had lost all their belongings — including their presents for Christmas, which was only weeks away. The Red Cross went to work, not only taking the family to Walmart to obtain everything they needed to ensure the family could go to work and school that Monday, but they also purchased Christmas presents for the family. All of this amazing work was done by volunteers!
Your local chapter of the American Red Cross has a variety of positions available to you today, and the volunteer coordinators are keen to find a position that benefits the operations of the organization and you as a professional. Committed volunteers can also be put through advanced classes that can allow them to become instructors and provide certifications that can lead to careers.
FOR THE RESUME
The Red Cross is well-known for being a great organization to volunteer for and that yields strong returns on investment. The paid staff at the Red Cross realizes the importance and abilities of volunteers and they work hard to retain their assistance. When I wrote my first resume, it was peppered with experiences and certifications from the Red Cross, and I recall these experiences being the main focus of the interview that lead me to my first full-time job! The best thing to do in any volunteer position is to share with the volunteer coordinator why you are volunteering, but also what you would like to learn while volunteering. If you are looking for diverse roles with the ability to obtain certifications, training, and the potential to become an instructor, then the Red Cross may be for you.
Skills obtained: Verifiable Training and Certifications, Organizational Policy Experience, Instructor Experience
The United Nations Volunteer Corps has a very broad reach throughout the world, as it is the overarching organization of which UNICEF is a subsidiary. The United Nations has a variety of highly sought-after, but incredibly beneficial volunteer positions. Field positions are reserved for those who are 25 years or older, but online positions are open today!
United Nations volunteers have the unique opportunity to participate in a variety of projects throughout the world, without leaving the comforts of your home. The online projects range from graphic design and social media outreach to project management and advanced research. This opportunity supports a myriad of UN-sponsored organizations that typically do not have the capabilities or the support staff to accomplish these goals, so they are in desperate need of your help. The brilliant part of online volunteering, sometimes called virtual volunteering, is the information that each project coordinator gives you upfront. They typically tell you the amount of hours you would spend weekly, what is expected, and how many people you would be working with. This gives you the chance to choose the projects that are a right fit for your schedule.
FOR THE RESUME
This opportunity is perfect for computer-savvy professionals and students looking to make a difference utilizing their particular sets of skills. Many of these projects offer unparalleled experience coordinating and working with individuals from around the globe. On any given project, you could be having a Skype call with a teammate in southeast Asia and then a follow-up with the team lead in London. Being able to demonstrate a track record of international volunteering experience on your resume will carry a lot of weight. You will also be able to take on leadership roles in a short amount of time and, upon completion, receive verifiable certifications for your work.
Skills obtained: International Collaboration, Leadership Development, Career-Specific Experience
REAPING THE REWARDS
Each one of the organizations provides you an excellent chance to assist those in need while obtaining unique experiences that will give you an edge when it comes to an interview for your dream job. Often, unique volunteering experiences can carry much more weight in interviews than a simple hourly job. It is important to remember to find positions that will make you stand out in the group of hundreds of applicants and having years of experience with any of the above organizations is a great way to do this.
As a Talent Acquisition Specialist, I am always looking for top talent to bring to my organization and, when I am volunteering myself, I am constantly working to make new connections and discover candidates at these events who are ambitious and committed. So make every volunteering event or project a chance to network and learn while making the world a better place. Get out and volunteer today! NobleHour can help.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. Our plug ‘n play software connects companies, schools and individuals with nonprofits. Volunteer, measure the good you’re doing, and share it with others. It’s that simple.
With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the we are dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Taylor Bradley, M.A.
New York, NY
Taylor Bradley is an International Talent Acquisition Specialist. He enjoys writing and sharing his experiences, successes, and failures as a young professional for the betterment of others. Taylor is actively pursuing a second degree in HR Management. He has traveled to all 50 states and approximately 45 countries, many of which he visited as a volunteer for the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other related NGOs.