How do I find a volunteer opportunity?

Find the Right Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteering is very hands-on, so here are a couple of volunteer tips to help you make your decision about where and how to donate your time.

While there are charities around the world looking for volunteers, it probably makes the most sense to start locally, since you know the area and its needs, and because you will be able to witness the benefits of your work. Common local organizations that tend to use volunteers include churches, temples and mosques, local libraries, Scout troops, halfway houses, or other community groups and projects.

You can call your local volunteer center, a branch of the United Way, or a community foundation to get information on volunteering. All of these organizations should be able to make suggestions on which local groups could use volunteers and help you decide to which you'd like to donate your time.

*Your friends, neighbors and co-workers can be an excellent network through which to find volunteer opportunities - your employer may even sponsor a volunteer program.

Online Tools

Finding the right volunteer opportunity is no small task. Like any job, volunteering carries with it challenges and rewards, and it is an obligation. You want to make sure that you commit to the opportunity that works for you, and where you can make a real impact. Luckily, in recent years, several organizations have developed online resources that will help you find the volunteer opportunity that is right for you. Each of them is affiliated with different charities and volunteer organizations, and provides slightly different services. Take some time to explore them and decide which one best suits your needs and interests, and then get involved!

The Network for Good is a nonprofit organization that connects individuals with their favorite charities. You can also make online donations, explore volunteer opportunities, and learn more about important causes at Idealist (, a project of Action Without Borders, is a site that features more than 46,000 nonprofit and community organizations in 165 countries, searchable by name, location or mission. The site also lists thousands of volunteer opportunities in your community and around the world, a list of organizations that can help you volunteer abroad, and a nonprofit career center.

• VolunteerMatch ( offers a variety of online services that support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement.

• Volunteer Solutions ( is a volunteer matching application available through the United Way of America that helps Volunteer Centers connect individuals to volunteer opportunities in their community.

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Guru Spotlight
Jolyn Wells-Moran