The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on our community. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 20 percent of Nebraskans and Iowans have reported missing a housing payment or being unsure whether they would make next month’s payment. And we know based on Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) from Nebraska Works, 7,000 fewer individuals in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro are employed since March and thousands more have left the labor force completely. Local nonprofits have been a source of support for many of our neighbors who have been struggling.
Nonprofits’ workload has increased since the pandemic, but they have lost a key source of support for their organizations – volunteers. Throughout April, you can play a key part in strengthening our community by giving back your time. Whether you’d like to volunteer virtually or safely in-person, we can provide you with the perfect opportunity to give back throughout April. Volunteering not only strengthens our community but it allows individuals to grow as well. Learn about the ways volunteering can benefit you below!
1.) You can foster a real connection to organizations and people who are in need
When you dedicate time to help others, this leads to engaging in activities and making memories with those you help. For Day of Action, we intentionally created volunteer activities where you can truly connect with nonprofit partners at the frontlines of COVID-19. The best part? The amount of time you spend volunteering isn’t directly proportional the number of lives you touch. Whether you spend an hour volunteering on Day of Action or you work on a virtual opportunity on your own time, the impact you make in those time spans is what truly counts.
2.) You’ll learn new skills along the way
Are your pandemic hobbies getting old? Well, volunteering may just be the thing that breathes new life into your routine. Volunteering allows you to refine old skills or gain new skills to help our community. For instance, there are opportunities where you’re learning how to efficiently deliver food to our neighbors or working on your graphic design skills. These can be skills you take and implement into any aspect of your life.
3.) You’ll make a genuine impact in the community
The small acts you do make big impacts. Nonprofits have lost a majority of their volunteer help due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the need for their work has only increased. By giving your time to a volunteer opportunity in April, you are providing critical relief for many local nonprofits and the people who benefit from their services.You can help deliver food to a member of our community who is experiencing food insecurity. Your teamwork could provide local agencies with supply kits that they so badly need. Your passion could help a local nonprofit get the revamp it deserves. Make the jump now and see what your small act could do for your neighbors.
4.) You can support a cause you believe in
The great thing about volunteering is the variety of causes and workload. The project you adore or the work you’re passionate about most likely needs your help. For Day of Action, there are many projects to choose from that all serve different needs. If you want to help combat food insecurity in our community, sign up to help pack and deliver food. Share your creativity with the community by helping a nonprofit design a new logo. You can also set up critical kits for hygiene, social distancing, or other necessities nonprofits need to provide for their clients. Socially distanced or virtual opportunities are available for anyone to sign up here. The world of volunteering is your oyster, even in pandemic!
5.) You can build professional skills
Individuals may not be in the office much these days, but everywhere around us, there are opportunities to build key skills that will benefit your career. One of those opportunities is volunteering. The time you volunteer can help you build professional skills such as communication, project planning, organization, and problem-solving. In fact: 87% of employees believe they develop professional skills as a result of their volunteer activities. 92% of employees agree that volunteering as a group helped them develop their ability to work as a team, and 71% of those surveyed who volunteer through work report feeling better about their employer. Volunteering is a key activity that can help you grow as an employee.
If you want to volunteer on Day of Action or participate in other volunteer opportunities throughout April visit uwmdayofaction.org to find an opportunity that works for you. For more information, please reach out to UWM’s director of volunteer engagement by calling 402.522.7949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author Emily is the Marketing Coordinator at United Way of the Midlands. She helps the team with all aspects of marketing projects. Emily finds it incredibly rewarding to be able to support our community through storytelling. Emily enjoys reading a good book, podcasts, and volunteering.
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