Brought to you by the Association of New Jersey Volunteer Centers
If you are one of the 9 million potential volunteers in New Jersey looking to make a difference in your community, then you've come to the right place. Volunteer New Jersey exists to connect caring people like you with organizations needing assistance from volunteers.
The Association of New Jersey Volunteer Centers (ANJVC) is the statewide association of volunteer centers, the primary organizations which enroll, refer, and manage volunteers for nonprofit agencies in every county of New Jersey. Volunteer centers work closely with their partner organizations to help them meet their volunteer needs. Many centers also engage volunteers for their own vital community service projects.
So whatever type of volunteer activity you are seeking, we're sure you'll find opportunities here that will ignite your passion and channel your compassion.
Get to know the volunteer centers of the ANJVC. Click on your local volunteer organization from the list on the left and volunteer today!
Have you been thinking about volunteering, but just aren't sure about where to look or how to get started? Do you worry that volunteering means a long-term commitment of your time? Do you want to do volunteer work that matches your interests and supports the causes you care about? Almost every volunteer has similar questions, so read on and you're sure to find some answers. Can't find a response to your question? Then contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Where do I look to find volunteer opportunities? A: The best place to start looking is right in your own backyard...where you live or work. Most volunteer centers list opportunities for area nonprofits on their web sites or through an affiliated database. Many also operate their own community service projects for which you can volunteer. Get started by checking out volunteer opportunities in your own community. Just click on the volunteer center links listed at left.
Q: When I find an opportunity that interests me, how do I get started? A. It's easy. Most volunteer centers offer online registration for the volunteer opportunities listed on their sites. Some centers will link you directly to the nonprofit organization which is sponsoring the volunteer activity. Registering on a volunteer center or organization web site does not obligate you to volunteer. In many cases, by registering, you can set your preferences for scheduling, types of activities, and more, which allows you to be matched with and notified about volunteer projects that are just right for you.
Q: How much time do I have to commit to? A. Since you choose the volunteer opportunity, you also choose the amount of time you want to contribute. Many volunteer projects are short-term, some as short as one day. Other projects, like mentoring, may involve a commitment of a few hours a week or month over a longer period of time. Even if there are limits on your time, there are no limits on opportunities to help your community or a cause you cherish.
Q: Is any special training necessary for volunteers? A. Not usually, but it can depend on the type of project in which you are engaged. Sometimes training will consist of a simple orientation to the specific procedures for a project. Other projects may require more extensive training. The volunteer center or nonprofit agency that manages your project will provide the training you need to get started. Some volunteer opportunities may require a specific skill set, which will be listed in the posted description.(See also answer below.) Other volunteer activities, like disaster response, require specific training from specific organizations. Your local volunteer center will be happy to point you in the right direction if you are interested in disaster response training.
Q: What if I have specific skills I'd like to use as a volunteer? A. Skills-based volunteering is becoming more and more important in today's nonprofit environment. Many volunteer organizations seek individuals with specific skills required for projects. These skills run the gamut from accounting, administration
, construction, computer and information technology, law, office skills, teaching...the list is endless! Skills-based volunteering is also very rewarding for those who want to apply their job skills beyond the workplace, keep their skills fresh in retirement or while unemployed, or apply their academic learning to the real world.
Q: Can I volunteer with a group, like my work colleagues or my family? A. Yes. Many volunteer opportunities posted throughout the year are perfect for group participation Volunteer center listings often include specific group, team, and family-friendly opportunities.
There are also local and national days of service which encourage volunteering as a group. Many companies have corporate social responsibility departments whose purpose is to engage employee groups in volunteer activities. Your club, fraternity/sorority, faith-based group, family, and work team will find lots of projects that benefit from group volunteer efforts. Just click on the list on the left to find group volunteer opportunities.
Q: Can my children or students volunteer? A. Certainly. There are many opportunities for kids to get involved in volunteering, as groups, family members, and individuals. Some volunteer centers even run training programs and other events to prepare children for volunteering and to help them discover their capacity for service. Young people find volunteering especially rewarding because they find that, despite their youth, they are empowered to effect real change in their communities.
Q: I am a retired senior. What kinds of volunteer opportunities are there for me? A.
There are plenty of great opportunities for seniors to give back to their communities. Senior volunteers are valued for what they bring to the table: life experience, knowledge and skills, flexible schedules, dependability, and maturity. In addition to all the other opportunities out there, which are suitable for seniors and retirees, there is even a specific program tailored to the qualifications of mature volunteers. RSVP is a federally funded program of the Corporation for National & Community Service whose mission is to provide opportunity for individuals 55 years of age and older to engage in volunteer service in their communities. Volunteer centers have designated RSVP opportunities listed on their web sites.
Q: I am currently unemployed. Will volunteering help me find a job? A. There are many advantages to volunteering while unemployed. First of all, it enhances your resume and shows potential employers that you have used your time wisely and to the benefit of others. Volunteering, particularly in a skills-based opportunity or as a project coordinator/leader, helps keep your work and people skills sharp. For many people who may feel at a loss without their usual daily work schedules, volunteering can help add structure to their lives. Volunteering gives you the chance to network and establish relationships with others who may be able to provide you with information or contacts for employment opportunities. Most of all, volunteering improves your own self-esteem and feeling of self worth because you know that your work is valuable and greatly appreciated. Some volunteers have even found that their volunteer experience opens up a whole new perspective on possible career choices. The rewards of volunteering are abundant, even if they are not monetary.
Q: I have been volunteering for a while, so how can I contribute even more, perhaps in a leadership role? A. There are several ways to grow as a volunteer. Consider becoming a project leader or coordinator. Volunteer centers and nonprofit organizations are seeking people with leadership skills to manage other volunteers and projects, and provide training to those selected to serve in this role. Keep in mind that project leader/coordinator positions involve a greater commitment on your part, as well as greater responsibility. Some volunteer centers also provide training and other options for those volunteers who want to transition to a more active civic role to solve problems in their communities. Becoming an organization board member is also another option for those wishing to take on a different kind of volunteer role. (See below.)
Q: How can I serve on the board of a nonprofit organization? A. Most volunteer centers actively recruit board members to help themselves and their nonprofit partners find the right people to serve in this important role. Usually, part of the volunteer center's work is devoted to matching individuals with agencies seeking new board members and educating them for the position. Board members may help to oversee the work of the volunteer agency and take part in setting the direction for the organization's future. A board member can be any concerned citizen with a passion for solving community problems, a professional or business person with a commitment to social responsibility, a religious leader, an educator, a student, maybe you! You can look for board service opportunities by visiting the sites listed on the left of this page.
Q: Is there a background check for volunteers?
It depends. Certain volunteer opportunities require a screening and/or background
check, especially if they involve working directly with children, seniors, or other vulnerable populations. Your volunteer center, or the nonprofit organization you are
referred to, will give you details about any volunteer position which
requires a background check.