Community service is not a one-size-fits-all arena. There’s room for everybody to serve in an area that both interests them and utilizes their talents and education. From toddlers to high school students, to the elderly, we all have something we can give back! Here is our list of some of the best community service ideas for every kind of volunteer.
Giving back is a great adventure!
Thinking of getting involved with your local volunteer service project? Or maybe you think it’s time your teen learned how to give something back to their community? Either way, we’re on board. Volunteering in the community is a proven way to encourage kindness and empathy for both you and your kids. Plus, it’s a fun way to meet people and get out of the house! While you’re at it, why not pick up our Adventures From Scratch: Family Edition? This scratch-off adventure book has dozens of brilliant, quizzes, games, and activities that will bring your family together and could be great practice for the challenges of community service.
Find Your Place to Serve
When looking for a service opportunity, remember to choose an organization you trust, that aligns with your values, and that can use your talents. This might take some research before you commit to a place, and that is ok. You’ll also need to consider how much time you’re prepared to offer. Do you want something to do on an occasional weekend, or are you willing to sign on for a longer-term commitment? There is no right or wrong answer, it’s just something to ponder before you make any promises.
Some of these service projects can be organized in minutes, performed in a day, and are a one-time deal. Others will take months to plan, you’ll need a good team, and it might take a great deal more thought. You choose your level of responsibility and involvement, just remember every little act helps!
The Best Service Projects for Every Kind of Volunteer
Community Service Ideas for Animal Lovers
Let’s not overlook some of our most vulnerable community members. We all know that humans don’t deserve dogs, but due to rising prices and the hard times that the pandemic produced in many families, a large number of pets have been discarded. Plus, our human activity has changed the ecosystems of animals all over the globe, and now we have some repairing to do! See how you can get involved below.
1. Volunteer at your local animal shelter.
Animal shelters are full to the brim after the pandemic, and they are always looking for responsible animal lovers to feed, walk, and bathe the residents. This is a great service project idea for the whole family.
2. Take a service trip to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center has been working with lost and injured animals, in one of the most biodiverse places on earth, since 2005. Living in a communal area with other volunteers, you’ll get the chance to help animals in need and meet like-minded individuals too!
3. Foster a pet.
As stated, animal shelters are currently overflowing, and food prices are increasing by the day. Help out your local shelter by volunteering to foster a pet until they find it a home. Most local shelters have a foster program or can lead you to one in your area.
4. Organize a food drive for your local shelter.
Food prices are outrageous at the moment, and that includes dog and cat food. Get with your local animal shelter to assess needs, and organize a food drive to collect those specific items. Volunteer to stock the food pantry as an added service project.
5. Adopt an exotic animal.
Hop over to World Wildlife Fund and symbolically adopt an exotic animal. Your funding will provide necessary food, habitat maintenance, and healthcare for an endangered species. Adopt a Blue-Footed Booby, a Bactrian Camel, or a Duck-Billed platypus.
Community Service Ideas for Environmental Warriors
Our earth is in a pretty desperate state at this point. We all had a part in it, and we can all have a part in the solution too. Here are a few ways you can help!
6. Host a community cleanup.
One quick look around your neighborhood, and you’ll probably realize, that like most places on earth at this point, it could use some picking up. Organize a group of friends to clean up your Townsquare or a specific area of your town. Even better, offer to adopt the area and keep it clean for some time.
7. Maintain a strip of the highway.
Whether you’re a business or community organization, you can adopt a stretch of road through Adopt A Highway Maintenance Corporation.
8. Plant a community garden.
Community gardens are popping up all over the world where citizens can plant, maintain, and reap the harvest of a garden in an open area. These gardens provide increased physical activity, mental health, and access to healthy foods for the community.
9. Raise awareness for your favorite charity.
Most nonprofit organizations fight the battle for fundraising every year. They are constantly striving for new and different ideas, and you can help! Partner with something you’re passionate about, and use your voice, friend network, and social media to spread the word. People can’t help if they don’t know!
10. Host a recycling drive.
Give the recycling center in your area a boost. Organize a recycling drive to spread awareness, educate the public on what is and isn’t recyclable, and collect items.
11. Take a service trip to Malaysia.
Since China cleaned up its emissions process in 2018, scrappers have moved their operations to small Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and the Philippines, which are not equipped the handle the situation. These nations are now swimming in the garbage, and their governments are fighting back. Help out in the fight by volunteering with an organization like Trash Hero Malaysia
Community Service Ideas for Healthcare Workers
Healthcare workers spend every day caring for others, and we thank you for that. Your immense skills and wisdom are useful in the community too! Check out these five ways you can spread your knowledge to the masses.
12. Organize a blood drive.
When partnering with the American Red Cross, you provide the location, the volunteers, and the donors, and they will handle the rest!
13. Produce a pamphlet for public awareness.
Every neighborhood has its problems to deal with from health issues to crimes. Work with community leaders to produce a public awareness newsletter or social media page to keep your community up-to-date and safe.
14. Do a public health seminar at a local school.
Join up with the local school nurse and organize a few seminars for students to educate on health issues and your community. Children are often overlooked when it comes to community health, but they are an integral part of keeping the community safe.
15. Organize an outreach to an underserved community.
Use your imagination on this one. You could organize a play day with children of an underserved neighborhood, focusing on healthcare careers, with booths to play dress-up, experiment with medical equipment, and learn about opportunities.
16. Take a public health service trip with Mercy Ships.
Mercy Ships are floating hospitals, and “vessels of hope.” A reported 50% of the world’s population lives within 100 miles of the coast, and Mercy Ships provide surgical procedures and medical training to the most underserved communities in the world!
Community Service Ideas for Educators
Educators are invaluable to our system. Here are a few ways you can continue your passion outside of your work hours!
17. Join a summer program at your public local library.
Public libraries often host reading clubs during the summer and after-school programs too! They are always looking for volunteers, especially those who are certified to work with children.
18. Coach a little league team.
Coaching a community sports team is an awesome way to instill confidence, a love for physical activity, and the importance of teamwork in the kids of your city. Plus, it’s tons of fun!
19. Volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a time-honored community organization that helps set up “littles” with an adult mentor, or “big.” Make a one-on-one connection that could last a lifetime and mentor a child in need.
20. Volunteer with Translators Without Borders.
Use your language skills to translate medical material, important notices, or natural disaster materials for community projects all over the world by signing up for Translators Without Borders.
21. Archive Documents for the Smithsonian Institute.
With probably millions of documents and photos in their archives, you can imagine that the Smithsonian Institute need a little help getting them all online in a format that is easy to search through. Their website gives detailed instructions on how you can help!
Community Service Ideas for Techies
It’s a virtual world now, and many organizations are struggling to keep up without the ability to hire high-priced technologists. If you have a passion for all things tech, then volunteer in one of these areas to help out your favorite nonprofit.
22. Organize a crowdfunding campaign for a nonprofit.
Fundraising is one of the most difficult aspects of running a nonprofit. Use your tech genius by joining a cause you care about and helping to set up a virtual crowdfunding account.
23. Manage the social media for a campaign.
Successfully managing social media platforms is not something that everyone has the skill, or the desire to do. However, it is almost a must in today’s world if you want your organization’s name to be known to the community. Find an organization you love, and volunteer your skills!
24. Set up or maintain the website of a nonprofit.
If you have some spare couch time, volunteer to upload photos and keep web pages up to date with new information. It’s a giant relief for small organizations to know they have someone they can trust to handle web info while they run the day-to-day details.
25. Teach computer skills at an assisted living.
If you have ever had to change your grandparent’s password or set up their printer, you know that senior citizens and technology aren’t always friends. However, many older community members would love to learn! Spend a few hours a month teaching basic computer skills at your local senior citizen’s center.
Community Service Ideas for Athletes
Who says community service can’t be fun and active? Find a way to use your love of the sport to increase the well-being of your community! Here are a few ideas.
26. Coach an athlete at the Special Olympics.
The Special Olympics is one of the most rewarding opportunities to participate in. Athletes with disabilities compete in several adapted sports, and they are always looking for coaches, referees, judges, and more.
27. Organize a youth sports day.
If your community doesn’t have any little league opportunities, or if you’re in-between seasons, organize a community event based on sporting activity. Bring out the soccer balls. Teach a skill, or just set up some fun, seasonal obstacle courses for community kids!
28. Maintain a hiking trail in your area.
You’re out there running anyway, right? You might as well volunteer to keep the trail clean, walkable, and welcoming!
29. Compete in a charity challenge.
Charity challenges are a fun way to raise money for your favorite cause. You could host a slip ‘n’ slide competition, join a polar plunge, or gather a team for a city scavenger hunt! For a full list of fundraising challenges, check out “Put The Fun In Fundraising With These 80 Charity Challenge Ideas”
30. Join a marathon.
Marathons are one of the most common and successful fundraising activities, but you don’t have to be a distance runner to join a “thon.” The marathon idea has branched out over the years, to include obstacle courses, mud runs, and fun runs of all sorts.
Community Service Projects for Artists
You’re an individual and a creative, and your community could use a little individuality and creativity! Choose one of these service projects or use your imagination to come up with something even better!
31. Design a mural for the city center.
Beautify your community by working with city leaders to fill your public areas with art! People have likely graffitied them anyway, so you might as well embrace it and make it something beautiful!
32. Design holiday sculptures for the town.
Use your skill to decorate your city for the Holidays. Volunteer to create masterpieces for city parks, roundabouts, and squares. Spruce the place up with a bit of holiday spirit.
33. Paint Windows for a nonprofit or local business.
Splash your talent all over the city’s windows by volunteering to paint a holiday scene at Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or another local charity.
34. Build sets for a community theater.
Does your city or community college has a theater group? We bet they could use some help designing and crafting this year’s set. Volunteer your talents and have the opportunity to teach student volunteers a skill at the same time.
35. Make flower arrangements for the nursing home.
According to Affinity Health, multiple studies show that having live plants around can increase serotonin levels, decrease anxiety and depression, and boost creativity. They also help to improve air quality. That’s more than enough reason to bring some life into your local elderly home.
Community Service Ideas for Teens
If you’re a teen looking to help out in your community, then this is your section! Remember, the opportunities are endless, and if you have an idea and the passion to do it, then go for it! You’re never too young to do something awesome.
36. Tutor a younger student.
Use your brilliant brain to help out a younger neighbor with special needs, or one who might just be struggling in a particular subject that your excel in. Tutoring is a great way to teach a skill, instill confidence, and be a mentor to a younger person. Plus, it looks great on college applications.
37. Beautify your high school.
Your school could probably use a bit of flair! Join up with your school board or student council and plants new flower beds, powerwash the sidewalks, or paint some classrooms.
38. Collect school supplies for an elementary school.
Elementary schools need a ton of supplies! Crayons, glue, pencils, paints, hand sanitizer, extra changes of clothes for little ones… the list goes on. Check with your local school officials and see what the most neglected supplies are, then start collecting.
39. Babysit for a low-income family.
There are lots of single moms and dads out there who could use all the extra childcare help they can get. You probably have some in your neighborhood. You might be surprised how much fun you can have when volunteering to care for younger children!
40. Do manual labor for a neighbor.
It’s a fact of nature, as we age, maintaining a property becomes more and more difficult. Help out an elderly neighbor by offering to rake leaves, take out the trash, or weed the flower beds. It will allow you to spend time with wise, older community members, and they often show their thankfulness with baked goods. It’s a win-win situation.
Community Service Ideas for Kids
This section takes a bit more planning. Not all events are appropriate for children, and not all non-profits allow them to participate. When looking for volunteer opportunities for children, always check with the organization first. Get a rundown of the day, and make sure you and they are comfortable with the plan.
41. Make care packages for the local hospital.
Being in the hospital can be extraordinarily boring and lead to anxiety and depression. You can brighten up someone’s day by delivering a care package and spending some time with a patient. Elderly patients love to get young visitors, and if you live near a children’s hospital, you can organize a play day. You’ll need to approve your visit and package contents with hospital staff, but that is usually easy to do through the front desk or the hospital website.
42. Collect and donate toys for a toy drive.
Whether you go shopping for new ones or go through your delicately-used collection, donating toys is a wonderful way for little ones to participate in community charity. It’s also a great teaching opportunity about caring for those less fortunate than themselves.
43. Adopt an elderly person as a pen pal.
Elderly people truly do love the company of youngsters. It gives them vitality! Have your little one create their letters or drawings and send them to a friend in the local nursing home. Better yet, deliver them yourself and spend some time visiting with the residents.
44. Pick up trash in your local park.
Make it a game. See who can pick up the most pieces of trash before the buzzer goes off! You can end your day with a trip to the local recycling center.
45. Pass out cookies at a soup kitchen.
While you’ll have to check with the administrators, most soup kitchens will allow young volunteers to pass out fruit or have a cookie stand at events, as long as they are accompanied by a parent.
Community Service Ideas for the Workplace
Serving with your work crew is a wonderful opportunity to better your community and bond with your coworkers. Your larger coordinated teams can also accomplish tasks that are harder for individual volunteers to accomplish!
46. Organize a team-building project with Let’s Roam
Serve the community closest to you by organizing a teambuilding event for your coworkers. You spend every day together anyway, might as well make it more tolerable by learning to work with your team members most efficiently and productively as possible. We can help!
47. Collect goods for the local food bank.
If you run a public business or work for a large company, then you have the perfect opportunity to set up a food drive. Set out boxes and spread the word, collecting items. Then, set up a day for your team to go and deliver the goods. Just make sure to get a list of needed items from the food bank first.
48. Teach your trade at the community center.
If your workgroup has a specific skill, volunteer as a group to teach the community! Schedule a room in the community center. Get the word out over social media. Who knows? Maybe, you’ll recruit some new talent to the company.
49. Organize a golf tournament.
It’s no secret in the fundraising world that golf tournaments equal big bucks. However, they take a lot to organize, so they are perfect for companies to do as a service project. Utilize your workforce into teams, and make it happen!
50. Volunteer as poll workers.
During election season, poll points need tons of workers to keep things in line! It’s a great opportunity for a work team to serve together. Just umm, probably keep your politics out of it.
Community Service Ideas for Elders
51. Knit scarves for the homeless shelter.
Put your skills to good use and make some warm winter wear for the local homeless shelter. Think hats, gloves, or scarves.
52. Make quilts for the local children’s hospital.
Many local children’s units like to give each child a distinct blankie that feels like home. If you’re a quilter, make a few miniature ones for the sick kiddos in your community.
53. Teach a skill at the community center.
You have probably noticed a severe lack of life skills in the younger generation. Most of us can’t quilt. We can’t knit or sew anything. We need your wisdom!
54. Volunteer at your church’s children’s program.
If you attend a local church, volunteer your time to help with a children’s summer camp or Sunday school class.
55. Write letters to heroes.
Healthcare workers, firemen, policemen, and community service members, could all use a little extra encouragement. If you have time and want to brighten the day for a local hero, send them a letter of gratitude.
Community Service Ideas for the Holiday Season
56. Send a soldier a care package.
Soldiers often spend their holidays thousands of miles from home. Plus, they are often surrounded by unfamiliar customs and miss home. A pack sent through Hero Care Package is the way to go. You can donate funds, and pick your package, and they will ensure it gets to your hero!
57. Organize a winter clothing drive.
Winter is the hardest season for the homeless and low-income in your community. Winter clothes are often expensive too. Gather gently used clothing, or go on a shopping spree, to fill the supply closets of your local homeless shelter.
58. Volunteer to deliver Thanksgiving meals.
Many churches and community organizations prepare meals for the local community. Delivering these meals to those who cannot get out is a great volunteer opportunity for anyone with a driver’s license.
59. Decorate a tree for the senior citizen’s center.
Spread the holiday cheer by picking out a tree at your local tree farm and bringing decorations to the nursing home or senior citizen’s center. Spend your afternoon with carols, cookies, and tree decorating!
60. Volunteer to listen with 7Cups.
The holiday season isn’t happy for many. It is a time that reminds them of loss. With 7Cups, you can volunteer to be a listening ear. They will train you in active listening, and you’ll become part of their team, offering 24/7 emotional support for those who just need someone to listen.
Community Service Ideas for DIY-ers
If you have skills, whether professional or DIY, to build, remodel, or fix, then your skills are always in need!
61. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
It’s a staple in the volunteer world, and it’s still a fabulous program. Habitat for Humanity provides homes or helps remodel homes for those in need.
62. Volunteer with Crisis Response International.
CRI offers volunteers the opportunity to not only train in multiple areas of crisis response but to respond to natural disasters and political turmoil all around the world. Find out how you can help!
63. Form a community repair team.
If you live in a small town, you have likely noticed that the ones who serve on all your community, charity, and church boards are the older generation. While their wisdom is invaluable, they don’t always have the physical ability to keep buildings in repair. Grab a few skilled friends and volunteer one weekend a month to help an organization in your community.
64. Teach a skill.
Work with the school shop or FACS teacher to do a special presentation of your skill in the local high school. Spread the wisdom!
65. Host a community skills day.
Set up in a public area and get the word out through social media that you’ll have a team of skilled person teaching. You could set up stations for community members to learn to change a tire, build a birdhouse, or properly install wallpaper. The options are endless. Just use your talents!
Hopefully, you found an idea perfect for your personality here! If not, don’t give up, there are hosts of opportunities out there, in any area for which you have a passion. Keep looking, or get creative and come up with your plan to give back. We all have a part to play, and none is too big or too small!
Got a great community service idea? Drop it in the comments!
You have to get a bit creative for service opportunities for children, but they are out there! For a few ideas, check out “The Best Community Service Projects for Kids.”
Volunteering in your local community is paramount, but there are also multiple opportunities for teens to serve in the international community, ranging from wildlife conservation projects to teaching English as a second language. We have gathered “12 Top Service Trips for Teens” to help you find the perfect opportunity this year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get creative when teaching children about community service! Some service ideas include helping an elderly neighbor with chores, picking up trash at the park, or visiting a nursing home.
Teens can participate in service trips, tutor younger students, or work to improve community grounds with service projects.
Organize a scavenger hunt to raise funds, give baths are the local animal shelter, or set up a food drive at your local homeless shelter.