Putting the “Good” in Social Good: The Ultimate Checklist for Any Volunteer

Volunteer-Hands-LargeSummer is a great time to get more involved with volunteer work than you may have time for during the school year. However, as members of the Wesleyan community, we should always be thinking critically, and our volunteer experiences should not be exempt from this. Natalie Jesionka of The Muse has a “definitive” checklist for people before they volunteer. Though the list was written with abroad volunteers as a target audience, it can easily be adapted for any person, whether they are volunteering through Wesleyan’s Office of Community Service, going into Teach for America, or doing a fellowship abroad. Check out the first section here, and then read the rest of the list:

Before You Leave

  • What, exactly, do you want to accomplish?
  • Does the community you are working with have a specific request or need?
  • If not, are your specific skills and services needed (and wanted) in the community or organization you’re working with?
  • Are you starting a new organization or working with an established one? How will this impact your project?
  • Are you creating competition and challenges for other organizations’ fundraising and initiatives? Can this be avoided?
  • Is this a short-term or long-term project? Are you being honest and clear about your timeline?
  • What will the full project entail in terms of time and resources? Can you follow through with your commitment to the community or project?
  • Is your project sustainable, or is it likely to shut down within two years because of project maintenance or funding challenges ahead?
  • How much money do you need to raise to fund the project? Do you have funds secured, do you need to raise more funds, or are you bringing in funds piecemeal? Can you meet the goal by a set deadline?
  • Have all the right people been informed of your project?
  • Do you or does your organization have the relationships and reputation you need to make contacts in the community?

To read the complete “Ultimate Checklist for Any Volunteer,” visit the full article here.

Jelisa Adair

I am the Civic Engagement Fellow for 2013-2014. While a student at Wesleyan I double majored in Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and completed a joint thesis during my senior year. I am interested in issues of social justice, mental health, media, and global welfare. 

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