Resources and Guidelines

Finding the Right Match

We all have different reasons for volunteering. It's important for you to consider your needs and expectations, and take the time to find an organization that does the work you most want to do as a volunteer.

Ask yourself:

  • What causes or issues matter most to me?
  • Do I want to work directly with people or do administrative or research work?
  • Are there particular people, age groups or communities I would like to work with?
  • Do I want to work alone, with friends or my family?
  • What do I hope to gain from this experience?
  • What don't I want to do as a volunteer?
  • What do I have to offer?
  • How much time do I realistically have to dedicate to this?
  • Do I want to use skills I already have or do something completely new?


Contacting a Community Organization

If you decide to contact an organization directly, be sure to ask about:

  • Agency's history and mission
  • Descriptions of volunteer job opportunities available
  • Overview of services provided and clientele served
  • Time or length of service commitment required
  • Hours and days of operation
  • Training requirements

Ask the agency to send you any written materials that describe their programs, services and volunteer opportunities. This will allow you to compare a variety of organizations at your leisure. In most cases, you can also arrange a tour to see the facilities and talk to paid staff and other volunteers. Also, be sure to visit their website.

Be aware that organizations may ask for references and require an interview to determine whether you are good fit.

If you are ever unsure about an agency or have questions, please contact the Director of Volunteer Services. She or he is available to meet with you individually to discuss your concerns.


Once You Decide to Commit

When you begin volunteering, remember that people will be counting on you to follow through. Some of your responsibilities may include:

  • Taking orders and doing what the organization needs you to do (within reason).
  • Participating in evaluations and seeking and offering honest feedback.
  • Arriving on time and staying for the entire length of your shift unless you've made prior arrangements with the agency.
  • Making your objectives clear to the people you are working with.
  • Respecting the organization and its clients' confidentiality.

  • Addressing problems that may arise before that get out of control, or determining when a situation no longer meets your objectives, interests, or schedule.

Service Partner Links

Inclusion in this list does not imply an endorsement or recommendation by CSE or the Geraldine Doyle Riordan Center for Volunteerism and Service-Learning.

National Service

Campus Outreach Opportunity League
Do Something
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
United Way of America
Welcome to City Year

Children's Issues

Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Boys and Girls Clubs


Inner-City Teaching Corps
Teach for America


Best Buddies

Homelessness and Hunger

National Coalition for the Homeless
Oxfam America
Second Harvest

International Service

Global Volunteers
Habitat for Humanity
Peace Corps
World Teach

Volunteer Resources

Coro - Leadership Training in Public Affairs
Echoing Green
HandsOn Network
Impact Online
Partnership for Service Learning
Project America
Random Act of Kindness Foundation
United We Serve