There are so many different types or projects, different causes, and different locations and programs to consider, that it can be confusing and sometimes frustrating to find something that suits you and your lifestyle. Here are some questions to consider before diving right in:
1. How much time do you have to commit? Is it an hour a week? Is it a weekend, a week, a year? Be realistic, everyone has different family responsibilities, living and work situations to consider.
2. How much money do you have that can be put towards your expenses during the project? It appears that to be part of large scale or long term volunteer work can be expensive. If you´re capable of taking the time off of work or school, and have the financial ability to partake, thats wonderful! So many of us are on a tight budget these days, though, that spending thousands of dollars to go abroad on a ¨voluntour¨ is really not reasonable, and thats totally understandable! But there are opportunities that are free or extremely affordable to be a part of, abroad and locally.
3. What is it that motivates you? Is it a specific cause? Is it to travel the world? Is it to just do something different? Find meaning? Think long and hard, because to be honest with yourself about your motivation is really the most important step in finding a humanitarian activity best suited to you. If you arrive an are unhappy, sure you´re contributing, but you will not feel the fulfillment that you had intended- and no one wants to find themselves disappointed.
4. What preexisting skills do you have that can help? Are you a teacher? In medicine? A builder? A musician, electrician? Can you write a really great project proposal? And where are your specific skills most needed? Take an inventory of your ability, because everyone has different talents and skills to give back to the universe.
5. Where is it that you want to be? Local, within your region, abroad? Granted, you may be limited by your time or financial ability, but its important to be both realistic and aware of your motivation regarding location. There are always popular locations to volunteer and travel, but they may not necessarily be the place with the most need, so be sure to do plenty of realistic research. Additionally, are you adaptable? Going far away is an amazing experience, but will you be able to preform at your highest level if you’re uncomfortable?
6. Last, but certainly not least, is there a specific subject that you feel most passionately about? You can be working in areas of education, healthcare, nutrition and housing, but theres also things like spreading the availability of music lessons and art classes to underprivileged children. New foundations are created every day, so whatever is your passion, there are people who also want to further your cause.