This article was published on January 7th, 2015
When most people think of volunteering, their visions may include soup line-ups, political organizing, sporting events, road-side trash programs and church or community events. While these are true and real ways to volunteer, there are many other areas where the gay community needs your help. Most LGBT communities are built on the foundations of non-profits. Whether it is for LGBT health, social services, housing, food programs, community outreach, and queer film festivals, there is a non-profit within an arms reach you could volunteer for.
Some stereotypes particularly about gay men being wealthy and having disposable incomes, affect our own communities perceptions of realty when it comes to poverty. Many in our LGBT community live below the poverty line and access food banks. Other people volunteer for organizations that work with LGBT refugees. In a world of competing interests, here are 7 reasons to volunteer for the LGBT community.
- It feels good and it is sexy
- You meet great people with shared values
- It keeps reality in check and reminds us of our blessings
- It’s a great way to show employers that you give back and you care
- Expertise is needed on boards and on committees to keep our community strong
- Not for profit organizations are one of the back bones of our LGBT community
- It creates legacies of caring for each other and models the way
Many people like the idea of volunteering but don’t know where to start. It can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider what things you care about, whether it is poverty, healthcare access, anti-bullying campaigns, seniors or youth programs. There will be a relevant non-profit in your community you can volunteer for. Most have applications and it’s helpful to get clear about why you care in advance and how much time and the types of services you can offer. The most important pieces to volunteering is getting clear about what can you commit to and then following through. The rest just makes you feel great.