It has never been easier to volunteer, and it seems to be more popular than ever as people of all ages and abilities look for ways to improve their communities. Just use this guide to finding volunteer opportunities online, and you're bound to come up with some great ideas and contacts.
Besides the online volunteer resources listed on this page, there are volunteer centers in states and cities. Looking locally might turn up the fullest list of volunteer opportunities right in your own backyard. 1-800-Volunteer.org provides a map where you can find a volunteer center near you.
Before you commit to your volunteer gig, though, check out these tips for picking just the right volunteer spot and getting the most out of it. Volunteer experience is highly valued by employers too, so document your experience and add it to your resume and your social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
Online Volunteer Matching Sites
- SmartVolunteer (for individuals with professional skills)
- All For Good
- Network for Good
- Points of Light Foundation
- Volunteers of America
- Volunteer Solutions
U.S. Government-Sponsored Volunteer Programs
- Corporation for National and Community Service
- Serve.gov (Portal for the Corporation for National and Community Service and its campaign, 'United We Serve,' to get Americans to volunteer and engage in national service.)
- Peace Corps
- Senior Corps
- Volunteer.gov/gov (Find volunteer opportunities with America's Natural and Cultural Resources)
- CitizenCorps (FEMA's push to get people involved in emergency preparedness)
International Volunteer Opportunities
- Global Volunteer Network
- United Nations Volunteers
- World Volunteer Web
- Global Impact
- Global Service Corps
- Transitions Abroad
- i-to-i LifeChangingTravel
Volunteer Opportunities for Students and Youth
- City Year
- Learn and Serve America (Federal government's program to involve students from kindergarten through college in volunteer service)
- Do Something
- Youth Volunteer Corps of America
- National Youth Leadership Council
- Youth Service America
Volunteer Opportunities for Professionals and Executives
- SmartVolunteer and Catchafire (for individuals with professional skills)
- A Billion + Change (a program of the Corporation for National & Community Service aimed at increasing the amount of pro bono volunteer work by corporations and their employees.)
- Taproot Foundation
- The Hands On Network
- International Executive Corps
- Financial Services Volunteer Corps
- Executive Service Corps
- Volunteers in Medicine
Volunteer Opportunities for Older Adults and Retirees
Many of the volunteer programs elsewhere on this page welcome older Americans. These are a few that are specifically designed for that group.
- Sparked - If you've just got a sliver of time to give, try this service.
Virtual VolunteeringSome of the organizations listed above provide ways to volunteer virtually through your mobile devices or computer. Here are some sites with a focus on virtual volunteering or that have the ability to search for virtual opportunities.
- Catchafire has virtual opportunities for skilled volunteers.
- OnlinVolunteering.org is part of the UN volunteer program.
- Sparked specializes in volunteering by smart phone and computer in small amounts of time. Perfect for the volunteer on the go.
- VolunteerMatch has a virtual volunteer op list that is well stocked.
- Donate Your Brain is a service of TechSoup, which provides technical help to nonprofit organizations. Tech wunderkinds answer questions from the TechSoup community. Free registration required, then search for "Donate Your Brain."
More About Volunteers
- National Service Makes a Comeback
- 7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Volunteering
- Should You Pay to Volunteer Abroad?
- Top tips to get more out of volunteering (from Goodwill)
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