The Benefits of Volunteering by United Way CEO, from

How to Volunteer at United Way

Three Methods:

If you're looking for volunteer opportunities in your community, the United Way is a great organization to get involved with! Chances are, you have a chapter in your community. Volunteer by finding your nearest chapter, choosing short- or long-term opportunities that are right for you, and signing on to help according to your skills and interests.


Getting Started as a Volunteer

  1. Find your local chapter.Visit the global website and click on "Find a Local United Way." Enter your zip code on the left if you live in the United States. If you live outside the U.S., select your country from the drop-down list on the right. You'll find a page listing the contact information and website of your local chapter.
  2. Discover volunteer opportunities in your community.From the global website, click “Volunteer” at the top of the page. Enter your zip code and browse the opportunities that appear. To narrow your search, choose the filters on the left-hand side of the page.
    • On your local chapter's website, find the “Get Involved” link at the top of the page and select “Volunteer” from the drop-down list.
    • You can also download a United Way app for your iPhone or Android phone. It's free and gives you a map as well as access to the database of local volunteer activities. Visit your local chapter's website for details.
  3. Choose an opportunity.If you browse from the global website, you'll find a host of third-party opportunities through organizations like the Girl Scouts and the U.S. Geological Survey. Click the opportunity for details and the application. For directions, click the orange text noting the city and zip code.
    • If you're on your local website, click the opportunity for details. You'll find information on how to register, as well as a map pinpointing the location.
  4. Decide the commitment you want to make.If you don't have too much spare time, volunteer for a one-time event like a Day of Action. To make a longer-term commitment, become a mentor or join a workplace team project. You can also use your skills to tutor students or counsel people coping with substance abuse.

Making a Short-Term Commitment

  1. Take part in a Day of Action.This event usually happens in June. Work with other volunteers to promote the work of the United Way. Some communities do flash mobs, hand out t-shirts, or host fundraisers.
  2. Get involved in a Community Care Day.This event happens in different months, depending on the community. Help feed the homeless. Read to school children in an after school program. Collect pennies, canned goods, and other items for affiliated non-profits.
  3. Help with food drives.Help collect and deliver food for low-income families in your community. Many chapters collect food during the holidays. In May, U.S. chapters partner with the Postal Service for Stamp Out Hunger. You can sort and deliver the food that postal workers collect.
  4. Make yourself available.If volunteer registration is closed, sign up to receive updates when help is needed. At the top of the global website, click “Get Updates.” Then, enter your email address and zip code. You can also receive email blasts and text alerts by signing up at your local chapter's website.

Volunteering Long Term at United Way

  1. Become a mentor.Many United Way programs match adults with at-risk children. Get involved in literacy programs. Volunteer as a tutor. Hang out with an at-risk child after school. Just a few hours a week could help at-risk youth get into college or stay away from drugs.
  2. Organize a team at your workplace.Pick a community service project to work on. You might focus on cleaning up parks, restoring historical buildings, or preparing taxes for low-income families. Ask your employer to invite a United Way representative to talk to your team about what's available.
  3. Use your talents and skills at the branch.Consider this if working within in the community isn't for you. Design posters for upcoming events. Write emails to volunteers and donors. Answer the phones in the office. Chances are, your local chapter will be grateful.
  4. Check with your local chapter about other long-term opportunities.Find out if they need volunteers with your skills. Spend your lunch break reading to school children. Help plant community gardens on the weekend. Teach citizenship classes for new immigrants after work. Regardless of the size of your community, your local chapter can match you with an opportunity.

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  • Most United Way chapters require volunteers to be at least 13-15 years old. If you're under 13, you'll have to work with a parent or guardian. Families can volunteer together on projects.

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