A Guide To Volunteering > II

Posted On December 10, 2006

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Is Volunteer Work Tax-Deductable? > No, unfortunately, the actual volunteer hours are NOT tax-deductable (in the US).

However, many expenses associated with volunteering can be deducted, like mileage and other travel expenses, paper, copying fees, parking, convention-attendance fees, etc. But these deductions apply only if the volunteer organization isn’t reimbursing you for them, and most don’t. A good rule of thumb is to get approval from the organization before you incur costs.

What’s The Scoop On Virtual Volunteering? > Opportunities for volunteering over the Internet are steadily increasing, whether it be building databases at home that are then e-mailed to organizations, moderating forums or updating web pages.

Virtual volunteering offers the flexible scheduling and isolation that many people crave. However, the commitment is just as serious as in-person volunteering. According to the Virtual Volunteering Project, a few problems have sprung up because people click “yes” to volunteer before really considering their expectations and schedule for an assignment.

The considerations for volunteering electronically differ somewhat from in-person volunteering > 

  • Do you have regular, ongoing access to the Internet? Think twice about agreeing to a virtual assignment if your access is limited to a university campus and the semester is about to end, or if you are about to switch providers or computers.
  • Do you have strong written communication skills? Almost all the correspondence between volunteer and supervisor will be through e-mail, and you have to be sure that you can communicate your ideas and intentions clearly by typing alone. Also, do you answer e-mail quickly? Your communication with your supervisor will be severely hindered if he or she has to wait a couple of days before getting your responses.
  • Are you comfortable working on your own? If you accept a virtual assignment, you likely won’t have direct supervision. E-mailing a few questions back and forth is completely acceptable, but you need to be comfortable taking the bull by the horns and charging forward with an assignment.
  • Do you have strong time-management skills? It will be up to you to garner the motivation necessary to get your project done by deadline. The Virtual Volunteering Project suggests that you schedule an approximate or specific time to complete the project to which you’ve committed. Procrastinating a volunteer assignment will make the job much tougher than it should be.

Where Can I Find Volunteer Opportunities? > Innumerable resources exist to find a great volunteer position. Your local place of worship, school, library, halfway house, youth organization or United Way will likely give you some leads. Also, talk to your friends, co-workers and neighbors for more ideas.

Internet resources are equally vast. The Points of Light Foundation coordinates a network of more than 500 volunteer centers throughout the nation. Also, check out Volunteer Match, which lists opportunities by city. Sites like the Disaster News Network offer volunteer opportunities for specific causes throughout the nation.

Additional Resources >
Corporation for National Service > http://www.cns.gov
Project America > http://www.project.org

One Response to “A Guide To Volunteering > II”

  1. Randy Tyler

    Great feature about volunteering and online volunteering. Our organization has been working successfully with online volunters from around the globe since 1998. We provide online opportunitis that consider the interests na skills of the noine volunteer. And yes, we provide references for our online volunteers.

    Yo learn furthwr inforamtion or to volunteer, please visit our site at: http://www.mys.ca/volunter

    Randy Tyler