Idealist.org, Gateway to Community

Idealist.org, founded in 1995 by the nonprofit organization Action Without Borders, is an online community promoting the connection of people, organizations, opportunities, and resources to build a better world through community engagement. Now with over 6,000 job listings, 13,000+ volunteer opportunities, and over 320,000 registered users, there has never been a better time to look at what the community has to offer, especially for anyone looking to make a difference.

Need a job? Need more experience? Both of these opportunities could just be a few clicks away. If you have ever wanted an easy way to give back and get involved with your community, read on to see how you can leverage Idealist.org to get the opportunity or position that you have always wanted.

Volunteer Opportunities

At the time of this writing, Idealist.org was listing over 13,500 English language volunteer opportunities across 17 separate regions of the globe. If you want to find an opportunity to help develop businesses in Ghana, Africa, for example, they have such opportunities. If you have the desire to be a medical or educational ambassador to Jamaica, they have those opportunities as well (medicine, education).

Wherever your expertise or interests might lie, and in whatever location or destination you’re seeking, chances are Idealist most likely has a volunteer opportunity in the area of interest you’re looking in, and there are new opportunities being posted on a daily basis. Finding these opportunities is as simple as visiting the site’s home page and searching for ‘Volunteer Opps’ at the top of the page.

Volunteer Opportunities

Homepage Search Menu

If you have more specific search needs, you can also utilize the site’s advanced search functionality by clicking on the Volunteer Opportunities link on the left side of the homepage, and then filling out the search form to narrow your criteria.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Once you have submitted a search query, you will be presented with a host of opportunities in the location, focus, and area of work which you have indicated.

Volunteer List

Volunteer Opportunities

From this point, it’s as simple as selecting an opportunity, reading the description, and if it looks like something that you’re interested in, just following the application instructions at the bottom of the page.

How to Apply

How to Apply

Employment Opportunities

Looking for employment with Idealist.org is just about as easy as finding a volunteer opportunity. The site is currently listing over 6,700 English language jobs across 18 geographical regions, and whether you’re looking for a long term career change or just a change of scenery, Idealist is a great resource for connecting with nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies.

Job Listing

Typical Job Listing

Since its inception in 2005, Idealist.org has slowly become a primary recruiting tool for many nonprofits, and if you are looking for a job where you can help your community, there probably isn’t a better alternative in the online job space.

An additional benefit of utilizing Idealist is that it often provides direct contact information for a hiring manager or committee, which helps ensure your application is being  reviewed by the individual(s) really making the decisions.

Idealist.org has now even integrated Google Maps directly into their job posting process, so employers can provide a clear description of where they are located for job seekers who have an interest.

Integrated Google Maps

Integrated Google Maps

Events, Programs, and Resources

For recent graduates or those looking to continue their education, Idealist now partners with local universities to provide graduate fairs to students at no cost. With these fairs they hope to provide students with information about how they can use graduate school to improve their social impact on communities, discuss professional development opportunities, learn about public service graduate programs, requirements, and admission deadlines, and listen to experts talk about presenting yourself as a better candidate.

Idealist.org Grad Fair

Idealist.org Grad Fair

Graduates can also find a wealth of internships and community placements with government agencies such as Peace Corps and AmeriCorps on Idealist, or with international nonprofits looking for new energy and insight abroad. For individuals interested in such programs, Idealist is a much easier way to find these opportunities than to individually track down organizations and opportunities on the web.

Social Community

Idealist.org offers a host of community driven projects and programs which have been posted to the site by organizations across the globe. These include training programs, scholarships, teaching placements, leadership opportunities, and creative projects amongst many others.

Idealist is most certainly a growing social community, and they have recently completely overhauled the social tools available to members who choose to sign up for a free account, including the ability to sign in with Google, Facebook, or Twitter credentials.

Account Login Screen

Account Login Screen

Signing up for a free account allows you to build a profile, connect, follow, and collaborate with organizations and individuals, bookmark pages and register for Idealist events. Building a profile is a great opportunity to promote and market your skills. The site provides the ability to not only list a complete history of your work, volunteer, and educational experience, but also integrate your posts from publishing platforms such as Blogger, Youtube, or Flickr directly into your profile. This allows users to not only establish their prior experience but also demonstrate current involvement in their area of work.

Global Reach

Idealist.org is built on a platform which is both scalable and flexible, allowing the organization to identify opportunities wherever there might be a need. Idealist has already added Spanish and French language websites to their network, and on each of these you will find opportunities and content specifically geared towards speakers of these languages. These are not direct one to one translations of the same content, but are completely dedicated alternative sites.

Idealistas.org

Idealistas.org

This multicultural trend expands even to the organization’s blogs, where sure enough you will find Spanish and French language posts on the blogs associated with the Idealistas and Idéaliste sites respectively. This truly demonstrates Idealist’s celebration of diversity and the international scope of Action Without Borders. I would look for this trend and functionality to expand in the future.

Idealistas Blog

Idealistas Blog

Conclusion

If you have ever looked at Monster.com or any other job site where you were not very impressed by the jobs you were presented, it will be a refreshing experience to take a look at the opportunities that you can find using Idealist.org.

More importantly, Idealist.org is a community of people who care about making a difference, and are motivated to bring new contributors, volunteers, and job seekers into the fold. If you are currently seeking employment, need or want to find volunteer opportunities, or simply have the desire to go travel the world, Idealist is an absolutely great place to start.

It is never too early or too late to give back, and Idealist.org is a great way to begin the process.


Summary

Connecting people with projects, jobs, organizations, and resources to help build a better world.

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