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What Are the Different Types of Volunteering Opportunities?

Blood from volunteers at a blood drive.
Working at a homeless shelter is one type of volunteering opportunity.
Retirement homes often use volunteers for a variety of services.
Volunteer at an animal shelter can be a rewarding opportunity.
Volunteering can be as easy as picking up trash.
Young adults may volunteer to be mentors in the Big Brother and Big Sister programs.
Volunteers might travel to other countries to help less fortunate communities.
Soup kitchens often rely on volunteers.
Volunteers are often needed to help clean up debris from disaster sites.
Tutoring students is a rewarding volunteer opportunity.
Skilled volunteers at nonprofit groups often help write grant proposals.
Volunteers might help out with an urban painting project.
Volunteers may work to conserve the natural habitats of area wildlife, such as hawks.
Food drives offer volunteer opportunities.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
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  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
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There are a number of different volunteering opportunities to suit every interest or desire to help, no matter how much time one has to devote to the project. Some of the most common opportunities involve helping others, such as working with kids to teach them or tutor them in subjects with which they are struggling, visiting homes for the elderly in order to have conversations or read together, helping to build homes for needy families, dispensing food at a food bank, or volunteering at a women's shelter or homeless shelter. Of course, there are a number of other opportunities to help animals, the environment, or in raising money for nonprofit organizations, just to name a few.

Many people assume that in order to really volunteer and make a difference, it will require a huge time commitment, but this is not the case. Even a few hours every week or month in which one selflessly donates time can be a big help to the people who need it. The way one chooses to volunteer is a personal decision, though many people find it best to help out in the local area first. Simply place a few phone calls to local organizations that are working with a cause that you personally identify with, find meaningful, or simply are interested in, and see what types of help they need. In addition, keep in mind that volunteering is necessary all year round, not just around the holidays.

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Mentoring programs, such as big brother/big sister programs, are some of the most popular because they are great ways for teens to get involved volunteering in the community. Volunteering at a food pantry is also a common opportunity, though many other local nonprofit organizations may need help as well, such as libraries, animal shelters, or nature conservancies, just to name a few. Keep in mind that not all volunteer work needs to be hands-on; for instance, one might volunteer for an organization that builds homes for needy families without actually participating in any home-building. These organizations need people to do things such as place phone calls or work in an office.

Fundraising for nonprofits is another type of volunteering that is not often considered, but this is another opportunity to do some work for a good cause that does not require any specific skills other than a desire to help. Homeless shelters and women's shelters are also frequently in need of volunteers. There are even some online opportunities for volunteering that exist now that don't even require leaving the house to do something good for someone else; simply search online to find them.

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pastanaga
Post 3

@browncoat - There's nothing wrong with that. As long as it's a genuine volunteer experience. I know it's become a bit of a scam with some people these days, where they will get folks to volunteer and ask them to pay a nominal fee and basically give them busy-work because the whole point was to get the money.

browncoat
Post 2

@KoiwiGal - Teaching English to people is actually a fairly good skill to have as well, for work opportunities and just as a general skill that can help you to relate better to everyone.

I'm a bit selfish when it comes to volunteering, I have to admit. I'll often only do it because it comes with some kind of really awesome opportunity.

For example, they had a tree planting volunteer opportunity on a local island recently and I had a lot of fun doing that. I would never have been able to afford to go to the island under my own steam, but they shipped us over for free since we agreed to plant all the trees. Yes, it was a bit of work, but the experience was worth it.

KoiwiGal
Post 1

One of the main benefits of volunteering is that it just feels good. I taught English to an immigrant couple for a few months and I was always buzzing afterwards. It was a different experience in the day and it felt really good to be doing something for no other reason but to help.

Often I would feel grumpy before I went in, maybe even a little resentful that I was giving up my time (although, of course, I never showed it). But I never came out of the lesson feeling that way. Quite the opposite.

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