I think it's safe to say many people plan to do some form of volunteering after they retire. But how often does it get put into action? A common feeling retirees have when volunteering is unpreparedness. People spend 50 years working, sometimes at the same job that they know like the back of their hand. They go into a volunteering environment and it's a completely different world.
Your volunteer work does not have to match the work you did in your career. You may feel like those are your only skills, but use this time to expand! People retire from their jobs sometimes because they feel burnt out. So maybe volunteering in the same industry isn't the best idea, especially if you don't get paid. Ouch!
It's important to set expectations for yourself and your role when beginning to volunteer. Like we mentioned above, you are not getting paid for this, so you want to make sure it's something you love and something you're comfortable with. If you're volunteering because you are bored, or because your role is your passion, it's important not to fall into the rut of an endless cycle that seems like you aren't accomplishing anything.
Not sure where you'd like to volunteer? Ask yourself the following questions- What bothers you about the world? What do you want to change? Seek out the organizations that put efforts towards this. This could also be something that you want to change within yourself. Do you want to be more patient? Volunteer with kids. Do you want to try something new? Volunteer at an animal shelter. Do you want to connect with nature? Volunteer at a community garden. The opportunities are endless.
Another thing to remember is this is not your career. Be realistic about what volunteering will entail, but also what you will be getting in return. A lot of times these organizations are on tight budgets and rely strictly on donations or grants they receive. It probably won't be a very fancy facility. Set realistic expectations and prepare yourself for challenges that may arise. A positive attitude and ability to work through any challenges that present themselves will help keep you engaged in your new role.
An amazing foundation I have to mention is Teen Cancer America. Laura's brother, Kenli, is a representative for the foundation. The foundation recognizes that most hospitals don’t have special programs or facilities for the age group of 13 - 24-year-olds. They create state-of-the-art ‘youth-focused’ programs and facilities to meet the needs of teens and young adults with cancer. They help teens produce, write, and perform their original music. Strategies For Retirement's client event this year is dedicated to this foundation. We will be making a donation and man, does it feel good! Give back. I linked their website below for you to take a look.
Now, don't feel like volunteering is your new full time job. In fact, we wouldn't recommend that. Take time to step away from career mode. After all- you are in retirement! Fill your time with what you love, contribute what you can.