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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Searching For Volunteer Work In DC

Image From www.volunteerscreening.org
This morning I received an e-mail from a friend requesting help on how to assist her college aged son find some volunteer work in the DC/VA/MD area.

In addition to offering a few ideas of my own, I've decided to crowdsource an answer (as my friends are a heck of lot smarter than I am).

Please post ideas to the comments, and I'll create a post summarizing all the helpful tips in a day or two.

Here are the the two e-mails (names have been changed):


"Michelle, thanks!

And hi, Adam! I spoke to Mark a little more about this yesterday..I'm not sure if he fully knows what he wants to do haha. I know he just signed up for Big Bros/Big Sisters for a year-long volunteer commitment.

So I know he may be looking for a job rather than volunteer opportunities after that..He graduates this Dec with a degree in Marketing/Business. Soo I don't know if he'd still be interested in volunteering, but if you know of any organizations that may be looking for volunteers or employees, that'd be awesome.

Are there any questions I should ask him? I feel like I'm being too vague about all this!

Thank you!


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  2. I recommend scanning http://dc.linktank.com/newsletter/ (or sign up for their newsletter, it comes in on Sundays). Choose which events you would like to attend and make an effort to meet speakers, staff hosting the event as well as other audience members.

  3. My advice here depends on the nature of the volunteer opportunity desired. However, if someone is looking for community volunteering such as, "Clean Up" events (ie. parks and rivers), energy initiatives (ie. training home owners on energy efficiency, etc) then I find county/locality websites to be the best resource. Often there is a mix of single event opportunities and year long commitments.

  4. I recommend Volunteer Arlington and Volunteer Fairfax. Despite their names, they are not limited to those specific areas and have great opportunities area-wide. Idealist.org is a great resource particularly for volunteer internships and GreaterDC Cares is what I use for big one-day projects.

  5. (1) Washington Humane Society/Washington Area Rescue League/Lucky Dog Rescue.

    (2) Greater DC Cares

    (3) From recent twitter posts:

    The Democracy Fund is looking for a web developer and web designer: http://bit.ly/mTtnPP and http://bit.ly/pov6M2

    Knight news challenge winner Zeega is hiring projects director. Someone do this so I can live vicariously through you! http://bit.ly/qB7kub

    Do you love to tell—and listen to—a good story? Apply to volunteer as a museum docent! http://ow.ly/67Mau Applications due 8/26

    Wanna be a social media intern @freepress and help us pioneer new online organizing efforts? Reply to this tweet and we'll follow up.

    Looking for a fall social media intern for @travelchannel: http://bit.ly/pBw0WP

  6. Adam, that's really fantastic; always nice to see people who are motivated to help out. Federation of Galaxy Explorers (http://foge.org) is a space education non-profit looking for volunteers in a variety of disciplines. Social media, science and math activity/curriculum development, marketing, graphic design, event planning, etc. Shoot us an email to volunteer@foge.org!

  7. I have volunteer with Greater DC Cares. They have a good number of opportunities.
    The individual organizations I have voluteered at:
    -Food and Freinds
    -Women for Women International
    -Fish & Loaves
    -Reading Circle

    Hope that helps!

  8. Depending on what you're looking for, you might try looking at Serve.Gov. The government resources uses a google-based platform to aggregate volunteer opportunities based on the topic you're interested in and your zip code. It pulls from almost every other major volunteer site online. While not perfect, it's a great example of addressing problems with tech solutions. In full disclosure - I work with these guys, so I'll put a call out to everyone to find their 9/11 Day of Service project now!

  9. He's a young whipper snapper, so I imagine he'd want to volunteer with other kids, right? My old program, City Year, has a corps of 150 young idealists who would LOVE to have someone serve alongside them for a few hours, a day or even longer!

    9/11 National Day of Service is also coming up, and there are plenty of opportunities available.

    There's also Make A Difference Day sponsored by USA Today.

    As for specific clearinghouses of opportunities: Idealist.org, Serve.gov, VolunteerMatch.com.

    If he's got a specific interest in something, it'd be easier to point him in the right direction. By the way, volunteering is a great way to land a job... if you want to go into the nonprofit sector. Just sayin' :-)

    If you've got questions, you know where to find me.

  10. I suggest the Eureka dance festival. they're brand new and they need marketing help, and their situation is similar to how NGS was at the beginning -- a TON of room to help however you'd want to. Their vision is pretty innovative, and it's a great group to work with. Your friend would be able to take responsibility for a large part of the project, and then get creative. Great way to learn a lot by just figuring it out. It wouldn't be paid.

    Here's their website: http://www.dancefestival-eureka.org/
    Here's Kate Jordan's email: eurekadance@gmail.com

  11. Hey Adam -

    Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great organization. I've been part of this in three different states. But it does require consistency and a year long commitment so it's not for everyone.

    Another great resource for volunteer opportunities in the DC area is DC Cares. When you sign up on their website you get a weekly email of every volunteer opportunity available through any organization that is signed up with them, which is hundreds. It's everything from pets to people, community gardens, helping the homeless, tutoring...and you can search opportunities by interest and neighborhood. There is really something for anyone interested in giving their time.

    Kudos to your friend for instilling the importance of volunteering to her son!

    - Alethia

  12. While I don't have much to offer for actual employment opportunities (outside of checking idealist.org) - I think that it helps to just get out there and start volunteering!

    Because I like to offer my time to a lot of different causes, I volunteer with Greater DC Cares. GDCC has a monthly calendar of volunteer opportunities with several different non-profit organizations in the DC/MD/NoVA area, so I get to volunteer all over and love it! I also would suggest Hands on DC, Serve DC and maybe checking out local volunteer bureaus.

    Once you get out there and start volunteering, networking opportunities will become available too. It's great that he wants to volunteer! I'd definitely suggest starting out with volunteering and seeing where it will lead him.

    Best wishes!

    - B.