In a recent study, more than 3 out of 5 people reported that they are lonely. This can take the form of feeling left out or not having a companion or friend to spend time with.
Loneliness, anxiety, and stress are a public health crisis waiting to happen. It is critical that we collectively find a way to alleviate stress and reduce our feelings of loneliness. What is one surprisingly easy way to start?
Studies show that people who start volunteering have reported being less stressed, happier, and healthier than those who do not regularly volunteer. Volunteering can boost your mental health significantly and even help you sleep better.
With all the benefits of volunteering, you might be wondering how you can start. Where is the best place to volunteer your time? What types of organizations offer volunteer opportunities? And how do you find the right type of opportunity that really sets your heart on fire?
Lucky for you, we have all the answers. We have created a complete guide on everything you need to know about all things volunteering.
So, without further ado, here are some awesome and creative ideas on how you can easily start volunteering in your local community.
Find a Cause You Are Passionate About
The most important thing to figure out before you start volunteering is to find out what you are passionate about. Do you love working animals because people can get on your last nerve? Do you enjoy spending time with children? Or, do you like to spend time outside and in nature?
Figure out how you enjoy spending your free time and then try to find a volunteer opportunity within that space. Not only will it actually make volunteering feel less like a chore, but you will find yourself wanting to spend more and more time volunteering.
Know There is Never a Perfect Time to Start Volunteering
A big roadblock for a lot of people when it comes to volunteering is that they feel there is a “perfect time” to start. You may fall into this category too.
You might think, “oh, when I finish with school, I’ll have time to start volunteering,” or “once the kids are a little older, I’ll have the energy to start volunteering.” These are all completely valid reasons, but do you want to know a secret?
There is never going to be a “perfect” time to start volunteering. The time to start is now.
Everyone is busy and has a lot of responsibilities that fill your days. You are not alone in that. But, you will experience that once you start giving back through your time and effort, you will start receiving so much more in return.
Volunteer Ideas If You Want to Help Children
The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, as the saying goes. Volunteering your time to help mentor and guide children, especially those who do not come from a good life can quite literally change the future. Here are some ways you can volunteer with children.
Read to Children
Literacy is fundamental to a child’s success in life and it starts with being exposed to books in their early years. Some libraries and elementary schools offer volunteer sessions where you can come in and read to children.
This volunteering opportunity is a bonus for book lovers!
Mentor or Tutor a Child
Organizations like the Boys & Girls Club is a great program that connects you with kids in need of mentorship. You can play board games, engage with them, help them develop their skills and talents, and help them uncover their dreams in life.
Volunteer Ideas If You Want to Help the Homeless
Did you know that on average, there are over half a million people are who homeless every night? Homelessness is a severe problem across the country and many communities are overwhelmed when trying to help. Here are some volunteering opportunities if you want to help the homeless.
Volunteer in a Soup Kitchen
Many homeless go hungry every night, which leads to a dizzying assortment of problems. Soup kitchens are a lifeline for much of the homeless population in your local community.
Volunteer your time by providing meals at a local homeless kitchen, either by serving food, preparing food, or purchasing supplies.
Help Clean Up Homeless Encampments
Another great way to volunteer for the homeless is to help out at a homeless camp cleanup. Many homeless camps are unfortunately riddled with trash and dangerous items, like syringes, human waste, and bodily fluids.
Communities sometimes do not have the resources to clean up these dangerous sites without external help. See if you can volunteer for organizations that specialize in this, like MedTech Cleaners.
Volunteer Ideas If You Want to Help the Environment
Approximately 70 percent of people report that they are concerned about the environment. If you want to do your part in making the environment a little more clean, here are some fun ways you can volunteer your time to help the environment.
Go to a Beach or River Clean Up
Did you know there were more than 5 trillion pieces of trash and plastic in the ocean? This astronomical level of garbage is polluting the water, killing marine life, and destroying reefs.
Volunteer your time by helping to clean up trash that washes up on the beach or that is in rivers. Many rivers feed into the ocean, so this is a great way to help prevent even one bag worth of trash from going back into the ocean.
Establish a Community Garden
Another way to help the environment is to volunteer at a community garden. These are great places to educate others about the importance of sustainable farming and gardening. Plus, it teaches you how to care about the environment as you have to make sure that the garden does not die.
Volunteer Ideas If You Want to Help The Elderly
Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable part of the population, with the exception of young children. They need a tremendous amount of help, so there are plenty of volunteer opportunities if this is your area of interest.
Help Deliver Meals to the Elderly
More than 5 million senior citizens were food insecure in the last several years. Many times, they cannot make it to the grocery store or cannot make themselves a nutritious meal. Organizations like Feeding America have made it their mission to help these food-insecure senior citizens.
You can volunteer for organizations like these by helping to deliver hot meals to seniors in their homes. You can help prepare their meals or you can help by purchasing food supplies to make these meals. Look for a local chapter in your community to see how you can volunteer.
Visit a Nursing Home
Nursing homes can be lonely places, especially for those residents who don’t have any family or their families are not able to visit frequently. You can volunteer your time to socialize with the residents, read to them, play music for them, and more.
Call up your local senior center to see if there are any opportunities to help volunteer today.
Become a Driver
Senior citizens have a lot of doctor’s appointments they need to go to. But depending on their ability, they may not be able to drive themselves or just need help getting around.
There are some services that help transport senior citizens to and from these doctor appointments. Be sure to check out some of those organizations.
Volunteer Ideas for the Holidays
The holidays can be a time of joyous festivities and being surrounded by friends and family. However, for a lot of people, the holidays can bring on sadness, anxiety, or depression.
Ways to volunteer during the holidays include “adopting” a family and helping provide them with food and toys during the holiday season. You can write holiday cards to send to senior citizens or to military service members who may be unable to visit their families.
You can donate to toy drives at schools and in underprivileged areas. You can join a caroling club that goes around to sing and spread cheer to those who may need it most.
Volunteer Opportunities of Giving
Another way of volunteering is not by giving time, but by giving your things. People often have way too much stuff in their house. Either they’ve outgrown things physically or mentally.
Instead of pitching your old clothes or tossing all your old books and knick-knacks to the curb for a garage sale, consider donating all of it.
Another donation idea? Your blood. Blood is the source of all life and cannot be artificially created. Hospitals are always in need of donated blood so consider stopping by a Big Red Bus to see if you are eligible for donating. You can actually save a life with this kind of volunteering.
Professional Volunteering Opportunities
So far, there have been some fantastic volunteer opportunities mentioned. However, all of these can be very hands-on and put you in the trenches, so to speak. What if that is not exactly your speed? Are there other ways to volunteer and give back through services you might be able to provide?
Short answer, yes! If you have a professional skill set, you can volunteer your professional capabilities to different organizations. Here are a few ideas for you.
Nowadays, everyone needs a website. But as you might be aware, creating a good website can either be very expensive, time-consuming, or just plain intimidating for someone not familiar with the process.
If you have any graphic design experience, consider volunteering your time to create a website for a charity organization in your community that could use one to raise awareness for their cause.
Writing or Create Content
In addition to helping with graphic design work to promote the charity to a wider audience, you can also help them write or create content. You can help to write copy for their website.
Or, if you are skilled in creating content for social media, either through Tik Toks or Reels, you can help boost their social media presence.
Clerical and Administrative Services
There are tons of different administrative help you can provide to a volunteering organization. You can donate your time by answering telephones, making calls for donations, or stuffing envelopes to mail out.
Are you a physician or a nurse? There are ways you can volunteer your deep medical experience and knowledge base to your community.
Many churches have clinics for those who are underinsured. Schools or summer camps sometimes cannot afford to hire a full-time nurse and would deeply appreciate a volunteer. See if you can donate your time at places like these.
Want to Learn More About Volunteer Opportunities and Community Service Ideas?
If you are interested in volunteering your time and giving back, congratulations! Volunteering is good for the mind, soul, and body.
Now, you should be armed with tons of different volunteering opportunities. Hopefully, you found something that sparked your interest or guided you to an organization that you would love to volunteer for.
With all the benefits volunteering brings and different ways to do it within your local community, there is no better time to start than today.
Want to learn more about how to start volunteering in your local community? Be sure to follow along for more articles. We cover everything from the best charitable organizations to the latest types of volunteering ideas for your to do with friends and family.