For the past 50 years, May has been a month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older Americans and their contributions to our communities. Many seniors are productive, active, and influential members of society, sharing essential talents, as well as passing on wisdom, and life experience with their families, friends, and neighbors.

With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits are enormous to you, your family, and your community. The right match can help you find friends, reach out to the community and even learn new skills.

Volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. It allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. However, volunteering is a two-way street. Dedicating your time expands your network and can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hawai‘i’s BBB recommends taking the four following steps to make sure your time and energy are put to great use as a volunteer:

  1. Identify your skills. Volunteering opportunities are available for any skill level. Consider what you’re good at and what services you’d be particularly well-equipped to provide. From stuffing envelopes to construction, to providing pro bono legal advice, you can find a good fit regardless of your education or talents.
  2. Consider your passions. Maximize your enthusiasm for volunteering by finding an issue that resonates with your own personal passions. If you’re a runner, consider a marathon fundraiser. If you like history, look for opportunities to help out at an archeological dig. By identifying your passions, you’re more likely to stay engaged with the charity and be a more effective volunteer.
  3. Determine your availability. Make a realistic estimate of how much time you’re willing to give. Maybe it’s just a weekend of picking up trash at a park, a week of building schools in a foreign country or maybe you’re willing to make a long-term commitment to tutor someone to read. It’s better to volunteer the amount of time you can reasonably handle, rather than drop out in the middle of a longer commitment.
  4. Research the charity thoroughly. Just as you would before making a cash donation, research the charity fully before you volunteer to make sure the organization has a commitment to standards and accountability. You can contact Hawai‘i’s BBB to hear or get news on local and national BBB charity reviews.


Better Business Bureau, Hawai‘i
808-536-6956 | 877-222-6551 Neighbor Islands

Better Business Bureau - Generations Magazine - April-May 2013