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Monday Mom challenge: Find a new way to volunteer

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Give your time and talent

At the start of a new school year, there's a new schedule be learned, to be adjusted to. New bus times, new after-school activities, maybe a new homework routine. All the juggling can be crazy and stressful, and you may just be waiting for it all to settle down and feel like normal again. Before it all gets too settled, too set in stone, it might be a good time to schedule in a time for regular volunteering.

So much in our communities thrive on volunteerism, and you likely do some already. But non-profits are hurting right now, both in monetary donations and in donations of time and services due to the poor economy. If you can - if you have the time in your schedule and the desire - now is a great time to make a new volunteer commitment.

Identify what you can give

There are so many ways to volunteer. While volunteering in schools or churches is perhaps the most common volunteer role for most moms with young children, it's not the only way to give your time. And not all volunteering even has to be done on site! Some volunteer efforts can be made from the comfort of your own home, on the computer or on the phone, or in other ways.

With so many non-profits needing to cut back on staff due to declining donations, the services of volunteers from all professions is needed now more than ever. A public relations professional can assist the marketing staff, a CPA can assist the finance department, or an event planner can assist with events. Not all volunteering is sitting at a desk or making photocopies.

Find an organization

Maybe you know where you want to give your time, maybe you don't. Finding an organization to which to give your time may be your challenge. If you want to do something slightly different from the expected, or want to just know more about the range of volunteer opportunities out there, you can use a volunteer matching service to match your location and skills with an organization that need that kind of help. There are numerous websites that match volunteers to volunteer opportunities, at both the local and national level. Plug "volunteer match" into a search field and you are on your way.

Develop skills

Volunteering is also a way to develop and improve skills, perhaps even skills you want to apply to a later job search. Non-profits, because of their dependence on volunteers, may be open to new ideas and approaches that can allow both sides to benefit. And volunteering always looks good on a resume.

Put it on the calendar

The most important part of volunteering may be the commitment to do it and following through, whatever it may be. Make time in your schedule to give your talent and make a big contribution to your community.

Read more of our Monday Mom Challenge series:

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