Graduate FellowsVolunteering consistently with the same organization(s) will allow you to become better connected with staff and potentially board members who could become valuable career connections or references. Volunteering with a range of organizations will allow you to explore different causes as well as to have a better understanding of how different organizations operate. Therefore, it may be most beneficial to try out a few different organizations and settle on one or two you connect with best.
Working with different populations (children, the elderly, people with disabilities, animals, etc.) may help you make career choices about the type of work you would ultimately like to do. Volunteering gives you an opportunity to practice skills. You may not be practicing the specific skills of your future career, but you will use a wide range of professional skills such as problem solving, time management and communicating with a range of audiences, as well as some more specific skills such as data management, fundraising, event planning or research. All of these skills look great on a resume and are wonderful things to talk about in interviews!
Consider joining a board of directors. Nonprofit organizations have volunteer boards of directors who oversee the organization by helping to set policies, assisting with fundraising, and supporting the overall mission. The responsibilities of board members vary by organization but generally include attending a monthly board meeting and perhaps participating in smaller subcommittees. Board member may help with the organization’s communication or fundraising. Sitting on a nonprofit board of directors is a great way to contribute to the community and also looks great on your resume!
Volunteering with an organization for some time and getting to know them better is a good way to determine if you may be a good fit for their board.
Resources available through WVU Center for Service and Learning
- Graduate Student Service A custom iServe search of opportunities that may be particularly interesting to graduate students
- One-on-one consultation with CSL staff – The Center for Service and Learning is available to meet with you and discuss your interests to help you best connect to meaningful service opportunities