Make the Most of Your Volunteer Time

Charities value volunteer time.  Three in five nonprofit organizations support volunteer coordinator positions.  They are ready to put you to work.

To make the most of your volunteer effort, however, you’ll want to choose your work carefully.  As with cash donations, you need to do a little homework before volunteering for a charity:Volunteers%20needed%20sign%20up!%20today%20graphic[1]

  • Find a charity that matches your interests.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the charity’s programs.
  • Review their finances. Is more than 75% going to their programs? Are they financially healthy?

Before you volunteer, you might also want to do a self-assessment. Consider these questions:

  • How much time can you give in a week, month or year?
  • What days of the week or time of day are you available to volunteer?
  • What unique talents do you possess that might help the charity?
  • What tasks are you unable or unwilling to do?

As an accountant, I frequently am asked to volunteer accounting services.  For me, that makes my time feel like a job.  I avoid volunteering for accounting tasks.  Yet I know other accountants who are more than happy to volunteer their accounting skills.

To make your volunteer time successful, ask yourself what you want to gain from your time spent.

  • Do you want to develop a new skill that is transferable to the workplace?
  • Do you want to meet new people with similar interests?
  • Do you just want the gratifying feeling of helping?

While the charity may place a monetary value on your services, your volunteer time is not tax deductible.  However, your mileage to and from volunteer activities is.  To take advantage of that deduction, you need to keep a record of your miles driven; you are allowed a deduction of 14₵ per mile.

 

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