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How to find your volunteer niche

VolunteerOne of the biggest hurdles in volunteering is knowing where to start. While some may say “just get out there and do it,” it’s not so easy when it comes to volunteering in financial literacy. As a CPA, you have the knowledge you need, but finding the right opportunity that best matches your skills and interests can be a challenge. Luckily, the AICPA has volunteer tools to help.

To get started, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. How much time do you have? Do you want to volunteer weekly? Monthly? Once a year? Do you have a full day available or only an hour here and there? If you have a full day, that could mean you’re able to travel farther or provide a larger workshop-type service. If you only have a few hours, it will be more feasible for you to stay close to home and do something more along the lines of a lunch break presentation to a local company’s employees.
  2. Where does your expertise lie? And where does it intersect with your passion? Maybe you have a penchant for working with kids or the retirement community. The great thing about financial literacy is that EVERYONE needs it.
  3. What audiences are at your disposal? Are there needs in your community that aren’t being met? You might be surprised by the opportunities you never noticed before. One of the best places to start is at your state CPA society or a local community center. They can help you get a read on what events are happening and where they might have a place for you to help. Depending on your expertise, you might also reach out to schools, retirement communities, etc. about the possibility of coming in as a speaker.

Lastly, where can you go for help? This is where we come in. In addition to 360finlit.org, the AICPA’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team has a set of free volunteer toolkits available to members. Each kit includes a PowerPoint presentation along with a series of handouts that allow you to tailor the content to your audience and time allotment. Our team is always here to answer any questions and help point you to the toolkit that best fits your needs. Take the plunge and get out there this Financial Literacy Month (April)!

Already a volunteer? What are your best tips for someone just starting out?

Claudia Cieslak, Senior Manager – Communications, Public Relations & Corporate Responsibility, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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