Charitable Giving

Making plans for summer? Include volunteering.

What’s not to love about summer? Sunnier days. Dinner outdoors. Dips in the pool. Maybe even a family vacation.

Why not add summer volunteering to that list? With its longer days and looser schedules, summer is an excellent time to volunteer—on your own, with friends or as a family. You could make it part of a vacation, like volunteering abroad, which has become very popular. Or, you could find lots of volunteer opportunities to do in your spare time closer to home.

Make this summer hot, hot, hot. Or cold, cold, cold.

So, where should you volunteer this summer? You could consider volunteering with a charitable organization you already support financially. The firsthand experience could provide new insights and make you a smarter donor.

You could also base your giving time on your own summer preferences. Love the warm weather and want to spend your time outdoors? Want to avoid the heat and stay indoors away from the sun and humidity? This list of inspiration for summer volunteer work has something for everyone.

For those who like it hot...

Be a kid again. Reach out to a nearby camp, sports or adventure programs. If you’ll be volunteering with children, be sure to contact organizations as soon as possible to give them enough time to conduct the necessary background checks.

Go to the dogs (and cats). Volunteer at the local animal shelter or humane society. Offer to walk dogs, help with feedings or cage cleaning or just provide some TLC for animals waiting for homes.

Clean up your community. Adopt a park, playground or local roadway and keep it clear of trash and other litter. Round up a team to help with spring and fall cleaning.

Take to the trails. If you’re fortunate enough to have a nature preserve or trails near your community, offer to help keep them clear. Brush up on your knowledge about local flora and fauna and volunteer to serve as a guide.

Wield a hammer or other tool. Handy? Investigate nearby opportunities to help build or restore a home for a family in need. Seek out service organizations that help seniors and others stay in their homes as long as possible. Put your skills to work to assist with routine repairs and maintenance.

Help out at a charitable event. For many charities, summer is event season. Instead of just attending, why not volunteer? Register runners or hand out water bottles at charity road races. Sell tickets or solicit contributions for your favorite nonprofit organization’s summer fundraiser.

For those looking to keep it cool...

Sit down with a senior. Contact a local senior center, nursing home or memory care facility and volunteer to help out with activities. For an even more personal connection, ask about opportunities to “adopt a senior” who’s far from family and would welcome a regular visitor and new friend.

Feed the hungry. Find a hunger or homeless charity and help cook, serve food or clean up at a soup kitchen, or volunteer at a food pantry. Start or join a meal train to help an individual or family through a difficult time. In some communities, volunteers at religious and service organizations get together to make sandwiches for the homeless. Pitch in!

Organize a charitable drive. Take the lead in collecting clothing, food, books, toiletries and other items. Donate them to local nonprofits or assemble the items in attractive baskets or care packages.

Need more inspiration?

Use our charity search engine. You can search by cause, keyword and location. Go to volunteermatch.org to learn about volunteer opportunities in your community. For step-by-step help in launching your own volunteer project, check out the toolkits at serve.gov.

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