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Ways to find meaningful volunteer work in your community

By Jenna Moede

I hope that my blog last week fired everyone up to engage in your campus and volunteer your time and skills, but I know that a lot of you attend classes online so you might wonder how you can volunteer to your benefit.

Great question!

You might find it harder to volunteer for a purpose, but you can do it! You might have to create some of your own opportunities or work a little harder to find them, but you can and you should do exactly that.

If you take classes online, you still have to consider yourself as a part of a college community so check with your university for opportunities before you do anything else.

If you can find contact information for a volunteer center, you should start there. If you can't, you can call student services and they may direct you to someone who can help. Either way, each university and college handles volunteering differently so try it out.

Next, I recommend branching out to your local community for career specific opportunities.

You may not have the chance to meet influential community members or prominent businessmen by volunteering on campus, but you can still put your name out and set yourself up to have success by strategically choosing community events to involve yourself in.

If you feel unsure where to find these awesome activities, try one or all of the following sites. I did some research and determined that these three sites helped the most in filtering through volunteering choices and gave me the ability to tailor the activities to my particular skill set.

I liked as a jumping off point because I could add my location and interests to turn up a vast list of current volunteer activities in my area.

Discovering that this site also offered remote opportunities also surprised me. I had never thought about volunteering for a company located somewhere else even though I do a lot of work remotely.

Since I have a one-year-old, and might not always have my husband around to watch my son so I can tackle a physical location volunteer activity, it opened a new door of possibilities I hadn't even considered.

This site generated very broad results, but it seemed like a good way to start building a network.

I also enjoyed using, and I can't even tell you how excited I feel about this one. I have already sent in a few applications and resumes because of it.



This site had some of the best search functions and had all of the functions the first one had too. I easily found many opportunities directly related to my field where I can gain exposure and experience.

I found searching by time frame a unique feature I could use on this site. I liked that I could opt for anytime, a week, a month etc. This is super helpful when you consider your time commitment.

It also listed volunteer opportunities that seemed more like internships which can help build a quality reputation that can lead to high payouts in the end.

Finally, I recommend checking out especially for those interested in long term commitments.

Beyond just location and category, I could search by skills like disaster relief, management and construction and activity type like fund raising, tutoring and administrative work.

I love this function because I can find exactly what fits me. For example, I have no sales skills. At all. I don't think I could even sell air conditions in a Wisconsin July so I definitely don't want to inadvertently sign up for a fundraiser and do absolutely no good. In my case, this function can save me from wasting time and ensure that I'll use my skills to do my best for the company. A win for them and for me.

Speaking of the organizations, this website does not require you to create a login. Clicking on a volunteer opportunity will direct you through that link to the direct website.

Using the resources at our disposal and a little bit of creativity, even those of us who attend college online can engage with the volunteer community.

Online classes don't exclude you from finding useful opportunities that may help you while you help someone else. Utilize your university and the mentioned websites to find volunteer opportunities that help you network, gain practical experience, and propel your career.


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