There are a number of different volunteering opportunities to suit every interest or desire to help, no matter how much time one has to devote to the project. Some of the most common opportunities involve helping others, such as working with kids to teach them or tutor them in subjects with which they are struggling, visiting homes for the elderly in order to have conversations or read together, helping to build homes for needy families, dispensing food at a food bank, or volunteering at a women's shelter or homeless shelter. Of course, there are a number of other opportunities to help animals, the environment, or in raising money for nonprofit organizations, just to name a few.
Many people assume that in order to really volunteer and make a difference, it will require a huge time commitment, but this is not the case. Even a few hours every week or month in which one selflessly donates time can be a big help to the people who need it. The way one chooses to volunteer is a personal decision, though many people find it best to help out in the local area first. Simply place a few phone calls to local organizations that are working with a cause that you personally identify with, find meaningful, or simply are interested in, and see what types of help they need. In addition, keep in mind that volunteering is necessary all year round, not just around the holidays.
Mentoring programs, such as big brother/big sister programs, are some of the most popular because they are great ways for teens to get involved volunteering in the community. Volunteering at a food pantry is also a common opportunity, though many other local nonprofit organizations may need help as well, such as libraries, animal shelters, or nature conservancies, just to name a few. Keep in mind that not all volunteer work needs to be hands-on; for instance, one might volunteer for an organization that builds homes for needy families without actually participating in any home-building. These organizations need people to do things such as place phone calls or work in an office.
Fundraising for nonprofits is another type of volunteering that is not often considered, but this is another opportunity to do some work for a good cause that does not require any specific skills other than a desire to help. Homeless shelters and women's shelters are also frequently in need of volunteers. There are even some online opportunities for volunteering that exist now that don't even require leaving the house to do something good for someone else; simply search online to find them.