Top 5 Tips: Finding AOK1/CE Placements
During your years as a student at Pace University, you will be required to take at least one Civic Engagement & Public Values (AOK1) course that includes not only time in the classroom, but also time in the “community classroom,” serving up to 20 hours as a volunteer at a non-profit organization. These courses are an opportunity to integrate meaningful community service into your academic career in a way that helps to strengthen our communities on- and off-campus while enabling you to truly make a difference during your time at Pace!
Finding an organization to volunteer with can be a challenge at first, but the Center for Community Action and Research is here to help with our top 5 tips for finding a fitting and meaningful service placement.
5 Tips for Finding Your Perfect Placement
1. Start EARLY – like, right now! Finding volunteer placements can sometimes take a while, and with only 10-15 weeks to complete your hour requirements, you’ll want to get started on them as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself needing to complete 20 hours of service during the last week of classes!
2. Find several (3-5) organizations you’d like to work with, reach out to them, and then follow up. Start with an email, then a follow up call after a few days if you don’t hear back – non-profit organizations are often extremely busy, and even designated volunteer coordinators may have many additional responsibilities. Have back ups in case your first choice doesn’t work out. Take a look at this info sheet on finding community organizations, and read on to tip #5 below for more options!
3. Be flexible. Organizations work year-round to serve people and causes in need, and you will become a part of supporting their efforts by volunteering with them. Their schedules and needs may not perfectly fit yours, so be flexible; you may have to volunteer on evenings, weekday mornings, or even weekends, but know that what you’re doing is critical to helping the organization and your fellow New Yorkers.
4. Be professional! As a volunteer, you are a representative of Pace University in the community; the organization you are working with is counting on you to be reliable and to work with them to help them meet their goals. You have a responsibility to your class, as well as to the organization and the community you are working in. Take your volunteer role as seriously as you would a job or internship position!
5. Helpful sites to search for placements include New York Cares, NYC Service, Volunteer New York, Volunteer Match, TimeOut NYC, and this list of organizations students have volunteered with in the past. Another great option is to sign up for our newsletter, where we often share organizations who are looking for Pace volunteers! Once you’ve identified a few organizations, we recommend contacting them directly (preferably by calling their Volunteer Coordinator) to find out about their organization and if they might be a fit. Check out this helpful information and a sample phone rap for contacting a community partner.
Still have questions?
Feel free to reach out to the CCAR on your campus by emailing CCARNY@pace.edu (NYC) or CCARPLV@pace.edu (PLV), or by stopping by our offices on either campus. We can’t find a placement for you, but we’re happy to help you get there in any way we can! Your class may also have a FACES student who is designated to help you with the process of finding and connecting with a community organization to find a placement that fulfills the requirements of your class, so be sure to reach out to them if you can.