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July 02, 2014

Why You Should Volunteer After Retirement

Your retirement is an exciting time that allows you to finally get around to doing all those things you never had time to do while working. Whether it’s traveling with your spouse, taking up photography, or finally writing that novel, your retirement offers plenty of opportunities to fill your time the way you want.

Many older adults find that filling their days with meaningful activities makes their retirement more enjoyable. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, while also embracing a new activity. However, volunteering doesn’t have to be an entirely selfless act. Sure, you’re helping out the community, but you also might find that volunteering has several personal benefits that make your retirement even more fulfilling. 

3 “Selfish” Reasons to Volunteer After Retirement

  • You’ll get that good feeling. Doing good deeds for others makes you feel good. When your time is spent giving back, you get to capitalize on those good feelings and enjoy your own generosity.
  • It’s an opportunity to socialize. Depending on the volunteer activity you choose, you might end up making some new friends. Volunteering can fill the socialization void left by leaving the workforce.
  • You might find something new to be passionate about. When choosing a volunteer opportunity, you should try to find something that won’t feel like work. Being passionate about a cause is a great way to fill your days and give yourself a renewed sense of purpose. 

How to Find the Right Volunteer Opportunity

When you first retire, the amount of volunteering opportunities available to you can feel overwhelming. How do you choose where to dedicate your time? Here are a few tips to get you started. 

  • Identify your interests. Perhaps you’ve always liked working with children or have a real knack for taking care of animals. Identifying your interest can help narrow down your choices and give you some insight into what kind of volunteer project you would enjoy.
  • Ask around. See what types of opportunities are available in your community. Talk to your friends about their experiences volunteering to see what they would recommend.
  • Test the waters. You don’t have to make a big time commitment from the very start. Feel free to try out a few opportunities before settling on a more consistent position.
  • Keep an open mind. Many organizations offer training to volunteers, so don’t be afraid to explore interests even if you don’t have previous experience.  You might be surprised what you can learn.
  • Research an organization first. If you’re going to dedicate your time, you want to make sure the organization you volunteer with is in line with your morals and priorities. Take the time to research their purpose and process to know exactly what you’ll be a part of.
  • Inquire about opportunities. Some organizations have formal volunteer opportunities publicized and others don’t. Just because an organization you’re interested in working with doesn’t offer specific positions doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be interested in your help. Ask if they have any need for a volunteer and explain what skills you can bring to the table.

Do you volunteer? Tell us about your favorite ways to give back in the comments section!

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