Unemployed Workers Turning to Volunteering

The unemployment rate is still around 10% in the U.S. As more people lose motivation to look for work, they are turning to volunteerism to keep busy, update skills, or find new interests.

In fact, the demand for volunteer opportunities has inspired the HandsOn Network, the largest nonprofit volunteer network in the country, to participate in large job fairs. The job fairs are a partnership with Monster.com, the online job board.

As local job seekers tour the displays and learn about job openings, they are also introduced to non profit organizations that need volunteers. Job seekers can gain from volunteering in many ways, including:

  • Networking opportunities: meeting new people can lead to job opportunities
  • Showcasing their abilities: volunteer managers and nonprofit directors tend to notice the talent and skills of every volunteer—which is good thing, when you’re out of work
  • Keeping skills current: it’s important to keep your mind sharp, your computer skills current, and your communication skills intact—and that’s hard to do when you’re home watching daytime television
  • Learning new, marketable job skills: volunteering is a great way to try new tasks, software, or job skills—which can even lead to a job using them
  • Having the satisfaction of putting their skills to good use in their community—feeling useful again is priceless

Out-of-work individuals don’t usually remain so forever; when they do find work, they often maintain their volunteer duties, as well as spread the word to their new co-workers about their experience. This is a great thing for nonprofit organizations; the more skilled volunteers that know about your mission and needs, the better.

And out-of-work volunteers often have more time, passion, and desire to have a purpose than employed volunteers. A mix of all kinds of volunteers—employed, retired, unemployed—is a great thing for any non profit organization!

If you’re strapped for volunteers, let your network know that you are looking. Now is a great time to gain the skills of the highly-educated, skilled workforce that is now out of work—but they won’t be forever. Whether you need help with fund-raising, marketing, grant writing or strategic planning—there is a wealth of talent in your community that you can tap into.

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