Here are five sites to help you find the perfect volunteer opportunities:

A product of AARP, Create the Good works to connect willing volunteers to opportunities with flexible time commitments and varying degrees of need. One unique feature of this site is the “Do-It-Yourself Project Guidelines” page, which empowers individuals to create changes in their own communities through articles like “Easy Ways to Help Others Go Green” or “How to Hold A Used Book Sale.” Search for volunteer opportunities by keyword, zip code or distance from your home.

With nearly 10 million volunteer connections since their beginnings in 1998, VolunteerMatch has a great system for pairing you with a cause that you care about, with operations in most major cities in the United States. They also host webinars for both nonprofits and volunteers eager to learn more about the world of volunteering and community engagement.

Geared specifically towards teenagers looking to do some good in their communities, this site is a great resource for 12- to 18-year-olds to engage in service. Volunteen Nation believes “volunteering can cultivate the empathy necessary to address social injustices and heal divisions within communities.”

A product of Points of Light and Hands On Network, this database serves to help individuals, groups and corporations find meaningful and mutually beneficial volunteer opportunities. HandsonNetwork Affiliate Action Centers serve particularly when natural disasters strike to help mobilize individuals in effective ways.

5. is a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities as well as internships, jobs and events. Search by keyword, city or passion in this easy-to-use interface. Idealist “helps people move from intention to action” all over the world, with both national and global opportunities.

Liz Vestal

Sources: Create the Good, Volunteer Match, Volunteennation, Hands On Network, Idealist
Photo: Create the Good

Do you want to study abroad during college? Wanting to see the world, but also feel like you should be working to help others? If that matches your dreams and desires, there are study abroad alternatives that fit you perfectly! There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that can double as the abroad experience you are craving.

The International Volunteer HQ is a great place to start when searching for volunteer opportunities abroad. They offer programs in “over 30 different destinations and fees as little as US$180 per week,” making them one of the most affordable programs out there. International Volunteer HQ programs range anywhere from teaching to medical assistance, to arts and music and sports. Their wide variety of programs allows you to find the perfect fit of interests and locations. A notable trait of the International Volunteer HQ is their diligence and determination to help volunteers fundraise money for their trip. Although based in New Zealand, the work they accomplish touches the lives of people on five continents and 34 countries.

UVolunteer is another noteworthy volunteer abroad program. They are currently working in areas of Latin America, Africa and Thailand with various projects being conducted at each destination. Though UVolunteer is slightly more expensive than other volunteer abroad programs, UVolunteer promises they are “unbeatable when you consider what you pay and the services we provide.”

Cross-Cultural Solution, or CCS, is, as they put it, “changing the way volunteering is done, making it a safe, exciting adventure of a lifetime for people of all ages and walks of life.” CCS understands how important each person’s efforts are to achieving change in the world, which is why they are dedicated to helping everyone who wants to volunteer be able to. The program provides people with the ability to work extensively in and with various cultures, while making an impactful difference in people’s lives. Though they currently have six specific volunteer work areas, they promise that if you have a skill or passion you want to pursue, they can and will help you get there.

GoAbroad is a program not just for volunteering, but for study abroad and internship opportunities. They offer distinctive programs that focus not only on what you are good at, but more importantly what you enjoy. The destinations they offer with the programs available practically cover any trip you can imagine. The duration of your volunteer trip, study abroad adventure or career changing internship is also in your hands. GoAbroad understands that funds, abilities and desires differ for everyone, so they make sure you pick your trip’s length. Since they have such a wide range of countries to volunteer in, your ability to make a change in others’ lives has little limits.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, WWOOF, is a unique program that operates around the world. WWOOF is so unique because it connects people looking to volunteer with organic farms that are looking for volunteer help. The premise of WWOOF is connection. There is a slight membership fee to join and find connections; however, aside from that there is no program fee. The families, groups or organizations looking for volunteers provide food, housing and the opportunity to learn about organic farming in exchange for four to six hours of work a day. Because of the global opportunities with WWOOF, you have the possibility to reach, help and connect with people from various locations and backgrounds. These programs each offer differing perspectives and opportunities for your abroad experiences, but can be tailored to what fits you best. Volunteering and making a change in the world can now go hand-in-hand with traveling abroad.

Katherine Wyant

Sources: International Volunteer HQ, UVolunteer, Cross Cultural Solution,, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms