Looking at Charity Leaflets

Maybe you’ve found a charity you’d like to work with, and you want to know more about how you can help. Or maybe you haven’t made a decision yet and are still weighing your options. In any case, the best way to do either is to get information straight from the organizations, usually through publications.

Start by collecting information on the various charities that offer volunteer or travel opportunities (depending on what you’re interested in). You can usually find a list of charities at a local directory or government office. Take down contact information on the most interesting-looking ones so you’ll know how to reach them for information. Once you’ve narrowed your list down, you can start collecting leaflets and looking deeper into your options.

Most of the information you’ll need about a volunteer opportunity can be found on the group’s brochure or leaflet. Charity leaflets are often distributed for free at the group’s office or made available for download on its website. More detailed guides, however, may need to be ordered or come with a small fee. Try to the most comprehensive guides you can get—you want to know exactly what they’re offering and what kind of work you should expect.

Check charity leaflets for information on the group’s main areas of concern (environment, education, women’s rights) and their main activities (teaching, counseling, tree planting). There’s usually some information on areas where volunteers could lend a hand, such as office work or manual labor. You may need to meet certain qualifications; for example, English teachers must have experience or at least a good grasp of the language. These should be outlined in the leaflet as well.

If you’re after travel opportunities, make sure to get information on the destination as well. How safe is it? Will the charity offer insurance, or will you have to arrange your own? Most of the time, you’ll have to pay for your own trip, with additional fees for joining the group. The costs, or at least an estimate, should be on the leaflet.

Although new and small nonprofits can offer good opportunities, larger groups tend to have better support if only because they’ve had more experience with volunteers. For instance, Red Cross offers training programs for new volunteers, as well as educational resources on its website. This can be a good idea if it’s your first venture into charity work, or if the work you’re interested in requires training.

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