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Is philanthropy and giving back important to you, but you’re not sure where to start?  Well here is my list of fifteen types of organizations that offer volunteer opportunities.  See which one matches what you're interested in, and help them out any way you can!


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Food Pantry

At a food pantry, there are many roles a volunteer could take. You could help stock shelves or sort the food items.  Also cleaning around the food pantry is another way to help and will keep the food clean and make the environment better.  Helping at mobile pantries by passing out food to those that are needing it or passing out food in the pantry itself to clients also helps out a lot.

Animal Shelter

Calling all animal lovers!  A great way to give back is to check out local animal shelters and adoption groups like the Humane Society of the United States that are in need of volunteers and foster homes for pets.  In a shelter, you could help clean, play, socialize, teach basic commands, and so much more with pets that are looking for forever homes.  Your local shelter will be very thankful for whatever time you can spare to help these adorable future companions.  Who knows, maybe while you are there you will scoop up a new friend to bring home with you when your time assisting is done.

Local charity sports games

Hey batter batter!  Sports are in full swing or about to start, and soon people will pour into their local arenas, stadiums, etc.  Some smaller teams could need help maintaining, managing, and taking care of other tasks before, during, and after games.  A great way to help the community and enjoy sports games for a  lower cost or even free would be to look into volunteering with the team or sport organization.


Volunteers at hospitals perform various roles that are very helpful to the already busy staff.  Some can help with the gift shop or front desk reception work.  Other volunteer options could be wheeling patients to outpatient tests, like to get an x-ray or blood work.  There are many opportunities so check out a hospital near you if working with people that are healing is an area of interest to you.


Some hospice locations could be in need of more volunteers to do small reception tasks. This could help the staff keep up with other patient-related tasks.  These opportunities tend to take place in quiet settings, so if this is an area that interests you, try contacting the hospice in your area to see how you can help out.

Nursing home

The elderly are often in need of companionship and someone to talk or listen to.  Why not see if there are activities at your local nursing home and see how you can help out?  Older populations enjoy hearing from others about what is going on in the world, have someone to read to them, or maybe even play games or do other creative activities together.   Call the nursing home in your town to find out more information on how to be a volunteer and help bring happiness to someone’s life.

Elementary Schools

Schools present the perfect opportunity to volunteer with children..  There is possibility that a local school may be open to having volunteers help with field trips, recess, or maybe other public events like school plays or music events.  Check out your local school and see if they are in need of extra hands on deck while working with lots of little ones.

Little league teams

Have a knack for a sport? Why not offer to be a volunteer referee or coach for small children in a league. The teams surely could use extra hands with watching over the kids and the games.  This is great for people who enjoy sports, kids, and being outdoors or in a gym.  Contact local schools or sport organizations to see how to get involved as sport seasons run all year long.


Nature presents endless opportunities  to get involved,and why not visit your local park and see what is in need.  There could be garbage to collect, recycling to sort, sweeping, cleaning or painting various items like benches or other equipment.  Plus, you could break a sweat and get a great mini workout!

Therapy horse farms

Ride em cowboy! Therapy horse farms offer therapy and encouragement to those that may have physical, developmental or mental disabilities.  As a volunteer you could help feed or water the horse, lead the horse around during therapy sessions, assist the child or adult on getting onto the horse, and other various things.  This is good if you like to be outdoors and working hard.  It can be very rewarding to see the child or adult progress in their therapy sessions and gain more independence or mobility or understanding of the world around them.

Political official’s office

Regardless of what your political affiliation may be, some local political figures could need help.  There are rallies, letters, emails, phone calls, and so much more to do during the election season.  All hands are on deck to get the word out from all of these political officials or political hopefuls.  If you have a hand at getting people to listen, why not give volunteering with a political figure a chance?

Car Wash

A great way to beat the heat and give back is to have a charity car wash.  Find an organization you wish to help fundraise for and gather up some car wash materials.  Then find a public parking lot that is willing to allow you to wash cars for this organization in need.  Gather friends to help and it can be a blast cleaning cars and letting others know about a group that is in need of funding in the local community.


There are so many ways to help out other individuals in the world.



Shh!  Libraries tend to be on the quieter side and more of a peaceful setting.  If this is up your alley, then see how you can help out. There are plenty of books that need to be shelved or alphabetized.  Or there is maybe the opportunity to help older individuals navigate computers or other technology.  Children may want to be read to and you could read short stories to them to keep them entertained during their visit to the library.  Reading is a great opportunity to learn more and why not do it at the library?

Create Your Own

Not finding a cause that you want to give back to?  Why not get inspired and launch your own volunteer experience.  Pinterest and other social media to look around for ideas of ways to create your own. It will take time and hard work, but there are endless possibilities if you try to create one of your own, from clothing drives, collecting food and so much more.  There are so many ways to help out other individuals in the world.


If there is a reason that you can not get out and into the field of volunteering, there are ways to do so online. Two great places to connect are websites like VolunteerMatch.org or CreateTheGood.org to find opportunities online.  Why not offer your artistic skills to an organization and create flyers, help manage social media pages, send out emails, etc. to help keep things running behind the scenes of organizations?

Go on out there and make a difference in someone’s life!


Jamie Miller is a 23 year old social work graduate student at the University of Illinois. She hopes to work as a case manager or college instructor post-graduation. Her writing passion includes beauty, relationships, and lifestyle tips. She is excited to share her thoughts and discoveries with everyone!


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