Impact: The Ultimate Guide to Volunteering

By Tonka Dobreva 09.13.2016 interact


Besides just the happiness that comes from helping others, studies show that youth who volunteer also engage in less destructive behavior, and are way more likely to do well in school. Keep reading to find out how you can get involved.

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Choose a Cause

There are many ways you can give back, but to get the most out of your time volunteering, you should choose a cause that you’re interested in.

Those who are good with people should consider working at a senior citizen center, women’s shelter or a food bank. If you’re good with animals, take a look at animal shelters, zoos, or pet rescues. If saving the environment is your goal, sign up to plant trees, help out at a park or clean up a beach. Or maybe you’re more interested in politics and awareness; if thats the case, there are lots of charities, non-profits and awareness organizations that are always looking for help.

No matter your interest, there’s a volunteer opportunity out there for you.

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Find a Location

Once you have the cause you want in mind, it’s time to look for specific place to contribute your time to. Google is a great place to start your search for volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood. Search for what you’re interested in, like a food bank, plus your location. You should also check out these volunteer-specific databases:

Volunteer Match partners with over 90,000 nonprofits to list volunteer opportunities available around the world.

Volunteen Nation matches kids from ages 11-17 with volunteer positions in their area. You can also apply for the scholarships that they award to teens who are making a difference in their community.

Whether you’re looking for a long or short term volunteer opportunity, Do Something has a cause for you. It’s also great for people who live in areas where there aren’t many options for volunteering, because there are lots of things you can do from the comfort of your home.

United We Serve is President Obama’s volunteer initiative that encourages people to participate more in community services. They have lots of listings and resources to get you started.

All For Good is an organization that is partnered with companies like Google and Target to help people connect with the causes they support.

Here are some more sites to help you make the most of National Volunteer Week:

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Make Sure the Opportunity Is Legit

So you’ve found your charity or organization, and you’re ready to donate your time. Now, you should make sure that the opportunity you’ve found is real. Unfortunately, some people out there will try to scam you out of your money and time.

Make sure that the organization you suggested has a contact page on their website, so that you can call and actually speak to someone there before committing to anything. Keep your guard up if their e-mails sound strange, or if the work they propose to you is too different from the cause they’re claiming to support.

You can also visit the Charity Navigator site to see if the organization is listed there. If it is, check their rating. Of course, the best way to avoid being pulled into a scam is to stay on the safe side and find something that doesn’t make you feel wary. If you’re not sure, ask a teacher or parent to double check for you.

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Recruit Others

Share the benefits of volunteering, like a longer life span and a happier disposition with your friends, family, and neighbors by inviting them to volunteer with you! National Volunteer Week is also about spreading awareness about the importance of volunteering. No matter which cause you choose, you’re affecting the world around you, one hour at a time.

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 More Resources

Still not sure about what you want to do? Check out these helpful guides about various causes.

Support a Women’s Shelter

Volunteer at a Nursing Home

How to Become a Peace Corps Volunteer

How to Help the Hungry

How to Organize a Beach Cleanup

How to Volunteer at a Zoo 



  1. Symantha Tuener

    Being a superhero isn’t always fun and games there is more to it than games,doing the right things comes from the heart

  2. symantha

    helping people in need,I will be there to help.(if I have time)

  3. Kaylee Plews

    I sometimes would help out at the humane society and walk the dogs and make them feel loved. I have helped paint a house once, it took a while but that foster home looked great when we finished. I think it’s great for people to help the less fortunate.

  4. Hailey Stewart

    Well 2 years ago the retaining wall holding up my house, we had to move to a hotel. We moved in with my anut and uncle but it just didn’t work out. So we’re in a hotel again last time we were in there for 2 months and this time we are to. I want to help my parents and other people in the neighborhood because it affect another persons house.

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