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Accelerate Your Career By Volunteering

There are many ways to accelerate your career. One of those ways should be by helping others.

When you help those in need you will make your community a better place and begin to understand the problems and challenges other people are facing.

While you will be making the world a better place, volunteering will also help you expand your network, develop new skills, and help you develop as a leader in the workplace.

Today there are many resources to help you find the right nonprofit organization. Start with a topic or cause you are passionate about like helping the underprivileged, helping community art centers or museums raise money, supporting people with disease or illness, or organizing volunteers through work or religious organizations.

Here are a few of our favorite ideas to find volunteer opportunities.

The United Way

The United Way’s (volunteer page) goal is to “advance the common good in communities across the world. [Their] focus is on education, income, and health – the building blocks for a good quality life.”

We like the United Way because it has a national reach, a variety of volunteering opportunities, and access to heavy hitters to help expand your network. Check out the United Way board of directors in your community and you will see what we mean.

Habitat for Humanity

“Habitat for Humanity (volunteer page) is a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. [They] believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities.”

We like Habitat for Humanity because it has a global reach with many opportunities to make a significant impact by ensuring those in need have a place to call home. From personal experience we can also say they know how to have a good time after volunteer events.

Food Banks

Almost every community will have a local food bank that collects food for the elderly and those in need. You can help by working in the warehouses, picking up donations, dropping off food, or helping the office staff in any number of ways.

Search for “food bank” in your area and you are sure to find an organization that will gladly take your help.

The Junior League

For women out there looking to meet other like-minded women the Junior League is “an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.”

You can see how to get involved here: Get Involved with the Junior League

Museums and Art Centers

One overlooked opportunity for giving back to the community is to volunteer at your local museum or community art gallery. Now you may say “Museums?!?! They don’t need my help.” Not true.

Remember museums and art centers play an important role in our society by memorializing where we come from and offering an outlet for us to enjoy the beautiful things in life. Also, museum galas tend to be some of the more prestigious events in the nonprofit world and gives you an opportunity to wear amazing outfits.

St. Jude Children’s Hospital

For those that have a passion for helping children one option is to help raise money (volunteer link) for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, whose goal “is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.” Also, like many of the other organizations they recognize those who volunteer and contribute by throwing one heck of a gala and golf events.

Special Olympics

If you have a passion for helping the people with disabilities check out the Special Olympics, whose mission is “to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”

You can find out how to get involved with the Special Olympics here: Get Involved with the Special Olympics

Big Brother Big Sisters

If you have the time for a longer-term commitment, then consider the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Their mission is to “create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.”

Use this link to find out how to Get Involved at Big Brothers Big Sisters, but remember this opportunity requires a long-term and consistent commitment.

Religious Organizations

Your local religious organization or national religious organizations like the Salvation Army do amazing work to help those in need. While this may not be as beneficial from a career networking perspective you are still helping others around you while promoting your religious values as part of creating a strong community.

School Organizations

Local schools are always in need of help. Maybe you can return to a school you attended as a child or simply find a school in your neighborhood. Either way there are definitely ways to help your community by supporting the needs of the next generation.

Work or Alumni Connections

Consider looking at opportunities to volunteer through your current company or local university alumni group. Volunteering with these folks can be particularly powerful, as you already have a common connection and these volunteering opportunities can create real amazing networking options you might not otherwise get in your day to day work life.

National Volunteer Database

If you still are having a hard time finding a good organization for your volunteer efforts, then check out Just Serve which helps connect volunteers and non-profit organizations.

💡 Pro tip: For those living in our Charlotte, NC, community check out ShareCharlotte.Org for a list of local nonprofits that you may be interested in working with.


First, this is just a sample of some of the opportunities for you to get involved. Feel free to drop us a note here if there are other volunteer organizations our readers should know about.

Secondly, find something that you are passionate about and go make a difference. You can do a lot of good with just a little effort while helping to improve your career at the same time. Over time we hope you will find joy in simply helping others in need.

Third, take advantage of the post volunteering events like parties, galas, and group gatherings. You will likely meet life-long friends that will make a positive impact on your life.

Finally, always take time to take an interest in those you are helping and those you are volunteering with; you never know who you will meet and how they can aid you in your journey.

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