Finding a volunteer job can be challenging if you don’t do your homework.  The more research you do in trying to understand the volunteer industry, the more likely you are to find an opportunity you are looking for.  Alina Tugend from the New York Times reports:

Problems may arise for a number of reasons. Nonprofit groups, already stretched thin, may not have the staff to adequately train and manage volunteers, or even to respond to volunteer requests.  And sometimes, the organization or the position just doesn’t turn out to be what you expected.

Here are some resources that provide information that can help you along your volunteer path:

  • Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics:  Here you can find quick answers about the nonprofit sector, information about how many organizations there are in the U.S., statistics and profiles.
  • Foundation Center:  This site provides knowledge on philanthropy, training courses, information about funding, events and more.
  • GuideStar:  They consolidate data from nonprofits and additional sources to inform you about the legitimacy and financial health of the organization.
  • Look for a local city program or organization where you can find opportunities where you can impact the pressing needs of your community