Identify Your Skills and Talents
Perhaps you already know which issue you'd like to tackle first. You might even already have an idea for how you'd like to get involved. Now you just need to determine which skills and talents you'd like to engage.
Here's How To Get Started
- Make a list of the things you know you are good at. Start with a quick brainstorm. What do you love to do? Where do you excel? Next, go through your resume. What are your specific professional skills? What are your strengths in the workplace? Don't be humble!
- Prioritize your skills and talents. Which do you think you might like to use in a voluntary action role? You might be great at accounting but want to do something entirely different as a voluntary actor. That's ok. Choose what you want to do!
- Ask friends and family. What would your friends, colleagues, and family identify as your strengths? What skills and talents of yours do they think could be valuable for taking action on an issue about which you are passionate? Send a quick email, create a social media poll, or have one-on-one conversations over coffee and tea to identify your strengths and skills. Not only is this a good exercise for figuring out how to get involved voluntarily, it can also help with career exploration and job searches!
- Think about translation. Consider how you might be able transfer or translate your existing skills into an asset for social movements or nonprofit organizations. What skills in a career setting might you be able to translate to the context of a social movement or nonprofit organization? For example, you might be adept with advertising and marketing; how might you use this toolkit to engage in effective community outreach? Maybe you're a teacher or a trainer; you can transfer these skills to public speaking, mentoring, and education!
A quick note about work and volunteering: not everyone wants to use their professional skills in voluntary action. Some would prefer to engage their hobbies, leisure activities, and personal talents. For example, you might work in finance during the day but be passionate about painting in your off hours. These visual arts skills can be critically important to organizations seeking assistance with new art for their website, social media, outreach materials, etc. Alternatively, maybe you love creative writing and would like to help start up a new blog or design clever protest signs for an upcoming march. The point here is that *all* skills and talents are valuable, whether you use them at work or engage in them as a hobby.