How to find the best places to volunteer

Rosterfy have pulled together a categorized list of the best places to volunteer, to help inspire your next volunteering experience.

If you’re considering giving up your time to volunteer, it makes sense that you’d want to find somewhere that really needs your help. However, it’s just as important to find a cause that speaks to your heart. Doing this will ensure you stay motivated and committed, while also getting the most out of the volunteer experience.

Take a read through our categorized list of the best places to volunteer, to help inspire your next volunteering experience.


Where are volunteers needed the most?

As the saying goes, charity begins at home. So, while volunteers are needed all around the world, sometimes the best way to get started is by looking around your local community. There are bound to be organizations operating in your area that help support local community service projects, making it a more equitable and safe place to live - which ultimately benefits everyone!


How do I find local volunteer work?

To find local opportunities, you can try:

  • Searching on Google ‘volunteer opportunities in [your town or city]’
  • The local paper
  • Facebook community groups
  • Message boards at local community centers, shopping centers or the library
  • Asking friends and neighbors 


What are the best things to volunteer for?

When thinking about the best places to volunteer, we always recommend starting with what you’re passionate about. Whether it be children, animals, the environment, homelessness, travel, or education, you will find hundreds of non profits and charities operating in these areas that are desperate for volunteers.

It’s important to think about what you want to gain out of the experience, such as career experience, social contacts, behind the scenes access to events, learning about a cause or concern, or simply a feeling of giving back. Using your volunteering time to achieve a goal or gain skills and knowledge is a win-win situation.


Best places for college students to volunteer

Local parks department

Stepping away from the books and getting your hands dirty planting trees, cleaning up beaches or building walking trails is a great way to keep your mind fresh, reduce stress and stay fit and healthy. Plus, volunteering always looks great on job applications.

You may learn more about plants and wildlife, gain new skills, be in the outdoors, improve your mental and physical health and make new friends. Many times, local and National Park volunteering is on an ad-hoc basis, so you can participate around your other commitments.

To find these opportunities, simply search your local parks department website for the volunteer page.


Tutor students

If there is a subject that you excel in, consider offering help to other students who may not have access to tutors. You should be able to find students in need by speaking to your teachers, university administrators, or through the university intranet. You could also tutor younger high school students to help them get into university.


Summer camp

Becoming a summer camp volunteer is a fantastic way to have a fun summer and make a positive impact while giving back to the community. Many schools, churches and non profit organizations run camps for children of various ages, with a variety of themes. You could volunteer with a camp for horse lovers, kids with disabilities, math camp or a church camp. The options are endless - but you should be welcomed with open arms everywhere. Most of the camps will require an ongoing commitment of a week or more, and in return will give you free accommodation and meals.


Best places for teenagers to volunteer

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for humanity is a great place for teenagers to volunteer as it has a dedicated youth program that accepts teens. It’s a wonderful way for teens to build confidence, learn skills, and see how they can directly help support another family. It’s also a fun volunteer opportunity to do as a whole family, and it looks great on college applications.


Buddy programs

Join a program that matches teenagers with other teenagers with a disability or developmental delay on a friendship basis. Once such program is called Best Buddies, and they run social events such as bowling, pizza nights and movie outings to help facilitate friendships and disability awareness.

Other friendship programs based around sport include the Special Olympics and Miracle League for baseball.


Volunteer fire brigade 

In Australia, the CFA and the SES both run teen volunteer programs that build confidence and teach safety skills. These volunteers do not respond to emergencies, but may participate in excursions, camps and championship activities. 

In the US, the NVFC runs a similar program, and in the UK you can look at the Fire Cadets youth volunteer program.


Best places for seniors to volunteer

Community gardens

If you’ve got a bit of a green thumb, why not share your expertise at a community garden. It’s a great way to get gentle exercise outdoors, connect with the local community and meet like-minded people. Of course, if your garden really blooms, you’ll also have plenty of fresh produce to enjoy as well. 


Second hand store

Second hand clothing and thrift stores rely on volunteers to fill the racks, work the register and sort out donations. It’s a great way for senior volunteers to keep active, both mentally and physically, and help raise funds for a charity. There are second hand stores in pretty much every city and town, so just pop into your local store and chat to them about becoming a volunteer. It’s a social and fun way to spend a day!


At a school

You might be surprised to know that local schools are often looking for volunteers. You may be asked to help out with reading or tutoring school programs, work in the school canteen, help out as a chaperone on excursions, complete maintenance and gardening or even make costumes for the school play. If you have grandchildren, you may want to volunteer at their school and enjoy being a part of their community. You will need to get a working with children check to be able to work at a school, and to have patience and a positive attitude.


Best places to volunteer with animals

Animal shelters

Share your love of creatures and give vulnerable animals the love they need at an animal shelter. In the shelter, you might be responsible for cleaning cages, playing with cats and walking dogs, grooming and washing animals and feeding them and even fundraising events. Search for a reputable shelter such as the Animal Humane Society or RSPCA/ASPCA. Most of the time, volunteers will be given training on appropriate animal handling, and will be expected to commit to a regular shift. 


Guide dog puppy carer

Experience the joy of looking after an adorable puppy for about 12 - 15 months as a puppy carer for guide dogs. As a puppy carer volunteer, you will raise a puppy for 12 months and help train it to be able to assist someone who is blind with daily life tasks.. It’s a full time commitment for a year, but an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience for dog lovers, plus you will be assisting someone who is blind to live the life they choose.


Wildlife rescuer

Learn about the many different species of wildlife in your local area as a wildlife rescue volunteer. You may be helping them recover from injuries or illness in a wildlife hospital, fostering animals in your home until they are strong enough to be returned to the wild, assisting with wildlife conservation, or helping pick up wild animals and taking them to an animal hospital. With so many varied roles, you will be able to easily find something that suits you while giving back to wild animals.


Best places to volunteer to help the homeless

Soup kitchen

Soup kitchens operate in both quiet and bustling cities all around the globe, serving food for the homeless once or twice a day. Food banks are another similar option. While the tasks are as simple as preparing and serving meals and washing up, volunteers are also there to chat to the homeless people, listen to their stories, and offer any other assistance they may need such as referrals to other services. For this role, it's important volunteers are friendly, patient and kind, and looking to connect to and support people from diverse backgrounds. If you’re wondering where to volunteer on Christmas Day, soup kitchens are a great place to start and spread some Christmas cheer to the less fortunate. 


The Salvation Army

For those without a home or in need of emergency shelter, the Salvation Army homeless shelters provide safe places to stay short-term. These shelters often have further services such as food pantries and clothing. They can also often arrange long term accommodation and employment skills training. Volunteers can help brighten someone’s day with a smile and a chat and help to keep the shelter running smoothly. Street outreach volunteers also engage with vulnerable and at risk people living on the street to ensure their safety and wellbeing.


Make care packages

If you don’t have the time to commit to regular volunteering, making care packages filled with essentials is a great way to volunteer to help the homeless. You can pack hygiene and care items such as deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste and warm socks and drop them off to your local shelter. Alternatively, you could take part in a collection drive organized by charities such as Blessing Bags or Share the Dignity who will collect and redistribute the bags to the right places.


Best places to volunteer abroad


The best place to volunteer abroad is somewhere that offers a program that matches your interests, goals and values.

Workaway is a volunteer platform that lists over 50,000 global volunteering opportunities in 180 different countries, ranging from teaching English to local families, to working on sustainable farms to training sled-dogs in Norway. Volunteers create a profile, then they can search through all the opportunities and apply for any that interest them. While you need to pay for your own travel, the host will normally offer free meals and accommodation in return for 4-5 hours work per day, and some do offer a small stipend as well.

Not only will you get to experience the thrill of traveling abroad, you’ll also be able to contribute to creating a better world.  


Teach English abroad

If you’re an English speaker, the opportunities to travel abroad to teach English are near endless. In almost every country, there are passionate students who want to learn English, and need volunteers to help them. 

Check out some of the best programs on offer:

  • The Girl's Education Project work in Tamale in Northern Ghana aims to help educate young, disadvantaged females living in urban villages around Tamale. 
  • Angloville runs language immersion camps for adults or kids that are held throughout Europe all year long. At the week-long camps on this volunteer trip, native English speakers spend time chatting with locals who want to improve their English speaking skills. 
  • Volunteer in Colombia and help support local NGO staff to learn English.

See our full list of the top 16 volunteer abroad programs for 2022.


Keep reading

Learn more about where to find volunteer opportunities and get involved today:


About Rosterfy

Rosterfy exists to connect communities to events and causes they are passionate about through volunteer and paid workforce management technology. 

Rosterfy Connect is a first of its kind, providing volunteer marketplace technology that ensures more volunteers to help, more opportunities to enjoy and a better connected experience for your community. 

While organizations within your community are invited to share and post opportunities to your volunteer marketplace, volunteers have the ability to unlock a diverse range of opportunities all from one central account.

If you’d like to learn more about how Rosterfy can help you recruit and manage a diverse team of volunteers, why not book a demo of our product today?

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