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10 Volunteering Opportunities In Your Community

Where to volunteer and how to find them.

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If you’re looking for ways to volunteer, sometimes the best approach is to just take a look around your community. Here are some places with volunteering opportunities that you can probably find in your town or county. We’ve made it super easy by giving you the exact search terms to look up online to find the opportunities near you. Which means you can copy and paste your way to your next volunteer experience!

1. Local Library

We think Between the Lions is probably responsible for our unrealistic expectations of libraries everywhere, but even without the singing puppets, libraries are still pretty cool. (If you don’t believe us, read all the things you can do with a library card.) Volunteer at your local library organizing shelves, working the help desk, or running events and programs.

What to Search: [town name] + library + volunteer

2. Public Media Production

Speaking of Between the Lions, iconic shows like it wouldn’t be possible without the work of public broadcasters. Volunteering at these places is a great way for aspiring media-makers to get some production experience and help out organizations in the process. Check out your local public radio station or public-access TV station for opportunities.

What to Search: [town name] + tv + volunteer or [town name] + radio + volunteer

3. Community Arts Center

Help these spaces inspire, educate, and celebrate the arts within your community. For more on why art matters, hear what these National Endowment for the Arts staffers had to say. You can usher at a local theater, help out at an art gallery, or coordinate programs at a community arts center (and maybe you’ll get to see some free performances and productions!).

What to Search: [town name] + theater + volunteer or [town name] + art gallery + volunteer or [town name] + arts + volunteer

4. Hospital or Medical Center

If you’re wanting to go into the medical field, volunteering at a hospital is a way to start getting a feel for the work. And even if you aren’t, it’s still an experience that you can get a lot out of -- just take it from these folks who actually did it. Expect to be staffing the gift shop, caring for patients, and running deliveries (you could even be a volunteer baby cuddler).

What to Search: [town name] + hospital + volunteer

5. School District

Here’s a place that’s probably familiar to you, so finding opportunities could be as easy as reaching out to a teacher or administrator. You might go for longer-term volunteering, like tutoring younger students after school, or instead opt for one-off events, like providing childcare during a PTA meeting. Consider it a chance to give back to the folks who taught you so much.

What to Search: [town name] + [school district] + volunteer or [town name] + [school name] + volunteer

6. Political Campaign

This is one of the most direct ways that you can get involved in politics, and you can do it at pretty much any level of government -- whether you’re canvassing for a congressional candidate or running social media for a mayoral race, your work on the ground is contributing to the democratic process. Here’s one 18-year-old’s experiences volunteering for political campaigns and a rundown on how to do it yourself.

What to Search: [town name] + [candidate name] + volunteer or [town name] + [government position] + volunteer

7. Animal Shelter

We’ve watched enough rescue pet glow-up videos to know that the work of animal shelters is super important, and who couldn’t resist being around cute animals all day? We do need to be clear -- it’s not all puppies and playtime. Volunteering at an animal shelter can mean doing essential tasks like walking pups, cleaning cages, meeting with potential adopters, and socializing pets. Here are some things to know before signing up.

What to Search: [town name] + animal shelter + volunteer or [town name] + animal rescue + volunteer

8. Food Bank

This can be one of the most rewarding places to volunteer because food banks provide relief to people from all walks of life. From children to older folks, we all need nourishment, and volunteering here will help keep people in your community fed and healthy. You may be sorting and packing food, serving meals, or picking up donations -- either way, your impact will be felt.

What to Search: [town name] + food bank + volunteer or [town name] + food pantry + volunteer or [town name] + soup kitchen + volunteer

9. Local Park

That’s right, you can take a cue from Leslie Knope and pitch in at your local parks and recreation department. Sometimes environmental action can mean helping preserve the green spaces around you. Volunteer to pick up litter, maintain trails, and help run park events. You’ll spend time in the great outdoors and maybe get some cool benefits while you’re at it -- like free workshops on bird identification or access to park campsites.

What to Search: [town name] + parks and recreation + volunteer or [town name] + [park name] + volunteer

10. And Beyond!

Looking for something else? You can volunteer for the environment, volunteer at one of these organizations, or even volunteer online. You can also explore all the volunteer opportunities at DoSomething.org, with actionable campaigns to transform your community.

CHOOSE YOUR IMPACT

Tap into your unique skills and give back to your community. Join The New Volunteers movement and earn volunteer service hours and credits.

GET INVOLVED

Make a difference in your community and add your vision to the future of our democracy