by Jonathan Goldford
Since there are tons and tons of nonprofits finding a volunteer opportunity is pretty easy to do. The issue is finding an opportunity that fits your needs and interests. Some people want to work with animals every Monday while others want to paint a building one Saturday every year. To help you find that perfect volunteer opportunity that’s in your area, here are three websites you can use to search and contact nonprofits for volunteer opportunities.
Using VolunteerMatch.org to search for volunteer activities is really straightforward and very simple. You type in your zip code and a keyword about the type of activity you want and you get a list immediately. I typed in 63132 and “technology” and found a nonprofit that teaches 4th– 8th graders how to use the computer. I was then able to send a message directly from the website to their volunteer coordinator expressing interest in the program.
Idealist.org is another great place to search for volunteer opportunities online. My favorite feature of Idealist.org is the ability to drill down to the exact types of volunteer opportunities you’re looking for. After typing in my city in the search box I was then able to use the sidebar to look for only events. Once I was looking at events I could choose to see only walks, conferences, or fundraisers. If you’re looking to make a career in nonprofit work they also allow you to pull up available jobs or internships in your area.
3. HandsOn Network
The HandsOn Network is the volunteer arm of the Points of Light Institute, a large nonprofit organization inspired by President George H.W. Bush’s Daily Point of Light Award for individuals who have made a difference. Just like VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org you can search for opportunities by type and by location. While they don’t have as many opportunities listed as the others (only two came up for my zip code) they do have local “Action Centers” you can contact to help you find opportunities in your area. Also, you can contact someone within their organization who will help your company set up a customized employee volunteer program.
I know this article doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the websites you can use to find volunteer opportunities, but hopefully it will help get you started if you’ve had trouble finding volunteer opportunities in the past.