It’s been proven that helping others makes you a happier person. And positive psychologists, behavioral economists and the Dalai Lama all agree that selfless acts can improve your well-being. More studies are beginning to show that kindness and generosity may even have an impact on human progress. A quote John F. Kennedy used often was “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It was generally associated with the economy, but along the same vein, when society as a whole becomes more benevolent—whether from giving or receiving—we can all benefit and grow.
Volunteering is a great way to improve the quality of life in our society. Since there will always be people in need, the opportunities to help seem boundless. Whether it’s building a house for the less fortunate or being an uplifting influence in a young person’s life, volunteering can give you that positive feeling you may be searching for, and in turn, spreading that positivity to someone else.
Volunteer matching websites are taking the legwork out of searching for the right cause and making it easier for people to find a volunteer opportunity more aligned with their interests.
Here are a few websites where you can go to make a difference in the world:
Volunteermatch is one of the best ways to connect to a cause, with millions of visitors and more than 95,000 participating organizations. Currently there are more than 80,000 opportunities to find the right match for you. The process is easy: Just enter your location and the cause you care about (or you can browse until you find something that is right for you).
The HandsOn Network has one of the largest networks of local volunteer centers worldwide. They seem to attract a more skills-based volunteer with a focus on using their time and talent to create change in their communities. They even have a Volunteer Time Calculator so you can calculate how valuable your time contribution is in dollars and cents.
Idealist.org is a website run by Action Without Borders, and is used as a virtual bulletin board for nonprofits and volunteers to post and seek out opportunities. Their Volunteer Resource Center has everything you need to know about being a volunteer.
UniversalGiving is a nonprofit web-based marketplace that gives people an opportunity to donate money or volunteer to organizations all over the world. The website allows you to look for causes that need volunteers, or if you just want to help monetarily, you can fund an existing cause. You can even create your own personal fundraising page. UniversalGiving says all projects are vetted and 100% goes to the cause.