Join a Cause You Care About

What’s better than feeling like you made a difference? Like you really helped someone?

Volunteering is more than just a great extracurricular activity. It’s a chance to become part of something bigger. You can make a difference in your community. And you can have a lot of fun doing it.

Volunteering can also impact your future. It looks great on job and college applications, and it’s a chance to test out careers you may be thinking about—like working in medicine, education, or for a nonprofit.

So, where do you begin?

Choose a Cause

What do you care most about? Animals? Art? Helping others in need?

There are so many ways you can give back. But choosing a cause you’re passionate about is how you’ll get the most out of your time volunteering. If you want to help people, try working with senior citizens or at a women’s shelter. If you love animals, shelters and rescues full of fluffy animals could always use help. Or if you’re passionate about the environment, plant trees or clean up a beach.

Whatever you’re interested in, there’s a volunteer opportunity for you!

Pick a Place

Now that you know what you want to do, you need to look for a place to do it. You can find local volunteer opportunities in a lot of different ways.

A web search is a great place to start. But you can also visit a community center, library, or religious institution to find opportunities. Or join a dedicated service club at school—like the National Honors Society or Key Club.

Want to know if an organization is a good fit for you? An easy way to find out is to make a list of questions. You’ll get a better idea of what you’re looking for and you’ll know if they have it. If they do, plan a visit to look around before you commit.

Create a Schedule

A big part of volunteering is dedicating your time—so it’s important to know how much time you can commit. Can you volunteer every other week? Once a month?

There’s no minimum for volunteering—even an hour here or there can make a huge difference. If you don’t have a ton of time, try opportunities with no lengthy commitments—like helping at a soup kitchen or food bank.

Do It with Others

Volunteering is a passion that’s meant to be shared with friends, family, neighbors, or anyone else. It can strengthen the relationships you have and create new connections between you and your community. So, next time you volunteer, invite others along.

Some First Timer Tips:
  • Dress appropriately
  • Get there early
  • Ask questions
  • Try to make friends
  • Have fun!

Ready? Here are some resources to help you get started.
Sign up for a volunteer, social change, or civic action campaign to make real-world impact on a cause you care about.

generationOn inspires, equips and mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world.

Volunteer Match
We make it easy for good people and good causes to connect.

Where to Care
This guidebook was created to give teens in Kirkland, Washington, and surrounding areas, a comprehensive resource of information about volunteering in your community.

Volunteer Centers of Washington
Volunteer Centers of Washington (VCW) strengthens, develops, and connects volunteer centers by sharing expertise and resources.