While there are many great services and organizations out there to volunteer with, how do you find the right one for you? The sifting process to find the perfect one can definitely be overwhelming. To help get you started though, here are some wonderful organizations that are great for volunteering, especially if you are looking to work for and with veterans.
As the name might suggest, this is a great organization that works with disabled American veterans across the country. There are plenty of ways to volunteer with your local branch and get involved. For example, you can volunteer at local hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics run by the Department of Veterans Affairs doing a wide array of duties. This could include direct patient volunteering, recreation program participation, as well as providing companionship and coffee to veteran patients.
They also run a Local Veterans Assistance Program which could include duties such as running errands and grocery shopping for local veterans in your area.
Volunteering with children can often be a source of great joy, and gives you a great energy boost. The Senior Corps Foster Grandparents program works with volunteers over the age of 55 and matches them with children in Head Start centers, schools, and other youth facilities.
This can be a great way to connect with younger generations and provide much-needed support. This could include helping children read, providing one-on-one tutoring, mentoring children and young mothers, as well as caring for premature infants or children with disabilities.
A longtime staple of volunteering opportunities, Meals on Wheels continues to be a great organization to work with across different demographics. Not just relegated to seniors, Meals on Wheels provides an opportunity to work with a host of different people, all passionate about the same cause.
The ‘America, let’s do lunch’ program is designed to provide support and food to the 85+ population. Volunteering involves delivering meals and socializing with homebound seniors. Typically, volunteers pick up meals in central locations and are provided a pre-determined route of several seniors within the area. It is a great way to get involved with the local senior community and provide a really valuable experience to ease their loneliness.
4. Working with local animal shelters and humane societies
A volunteering opportunity that might be a bit out of the box, but rewarding nonetheless, is working with local animal shelters and humane societies. These organizations take on a massive amount of work, and always need some extra help caring for the different animals they take in. If you like working with animals, this might be the right volunteering opportunity for you.
There are a lot of different ways you can get involved with animal volunteering, so think about what you are interested in and research accordingly. For example, dog lovers can volunteer with organizations such as NEADS, which provide service dogs to the deaf and disabled. You can volunteer to be a weekend puppy raiser and sitter, or work the early learning center to help train dogs. More information on this can be found here.
As another example, if birds are more your interest, why not contact local and national bird associations to see what volunteering opportunities they know of? As an example, Hawkwatch works to monitor endangered birds of prey. Volunteers can be citizen scientists and with research and conversation. Or you could become a Raptor Ambassador and learn how to handle these birds in order to take them to different community events to raise awareness.
Volunteering for veterans can come in many different forms, with Hire Heroes leading the charge. The organizations works with local veterans in order to help them gain business experience, and empower them to succeed. Most volunteering opportunities are virtual, so they can be done as long as you have a strong internet connection and access to a computer.
Volunteering opportunities within Hire Heroes might include activities such as career advice, mock interviews, photography, and follow-up outreach to ensure veterans are doing well and provide them with additional career advice. If you have worked in sectors such as consulting, cybersecurity, law enforcement, or IT, there is a special need for additional volunteers. The full list of sectors for which volunteers are needed can be found here, along with more information about volunteering.