Many wards find that it’s best to start by surveying the members, to find out what community organizations they’re already involved with. This also ensures that the organization is a good fit, as well as supporting members’ community involvement. Many wards do an email survey or post an announcement in the Sunday bulletin or ward/RS/PR/YW newsletter — whatever works best in your ward.
Here is a sample community volunteer questionaire. The Relief Society Humanitarian Service Coordinator passed out paper copies along with the ward bulletin, then sent it via email as well.
If you still need ideas after surveying members,read “40-ways-to-help-refugees-in-your-community” from mormonchannel.org and this article: 11 places where you can volunteer with your kids – The Boston Globe, which states: “Why not make family time meaningful by working together for a good cause?”
If you still need more ideas, here are a few good search engines. Even service opportunities suitable for families can be great for missionaries. In fact, members, non-members, or investigators looking for individual or family service opportunities can get involved alongside the missionaries. (Think “feeding two birds with one seed.”)
- volunteermatch.org lists lots of opportunities that you can filter by zip code, type of service (seniors, education, health, disabilities, etc.), ongoing or a particular date, etc.
- NuDay Syria.net encourages empowerment and seeks to aid with dignity Syria’s mothers and children, and build bridges from families here in the US to families inside Syria.
- doinggoodtogether.org is particularly for families. There are Boston area volunteer opportunities for children/youth/families, plus projects families can work on at home.
- generationon.org has general ideas particularly aimed at getting kids excited to serve. Check out the book bags made from wallpaper sample books: http://www.generationon.org/files/_projects/genon_wallpaper_book_bag.pdf
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore: Habitat for Humanity is a proven organization that accepts many products as donations. You could hold a household item drive and donate all items collected to a ReStore.
- Salvation Army Clothing Drive: A community clothing drive could help you gather donations for the Salvation Army. Check here for information on how to schedule a free pickup.
- Ideas for 4-H and Youth: If your youth group or 4-H club would like some ideas for ways to serve your community, these suggestions are sure to spark your interest.
- Ten Projects for Teens: Teenagers are awesome at making others smile. Here are ten ways that you can help make a difference!
- Service Project Ideas: These ideas are creative and will help improve the health of your community.
- Katie’s Krops: Start a garden to help feed the needy with Katie’s Krops and you’ll get growing tips, funding to help get your garden started, and the ability to apply for scholarships.
- Soles4Souls: The gift of shoes can change the lives of people all over the world.
- Projects for Kids: The projects suggested here are great for both kids and teens.
- Care Packages for Troops: It’s amazing how seemingly small items like toothpaste can bring a smile to a soldier’s face. Read about Operation Shoebox to learn how to create and donate care packages for the troops.
- Sock Drives: Socks play a huge role in the health of the homeless and others during tough times. Hannah’s Socks is a great place to donate your socks.
- Improving the Environment: There are many ways students can have a positive impact on the environment right in their own back yard.
- MLK Day of Service: Here are some great project ideas that you can do on the annual MLK Day of Service or every day of the year.
- Fitness for Good: This page outlines how you can walk, run, or ride your bike in order to raise awareness for a cause.
- Hats for the Homeless: Hats can help save the life of a homeless person. Check here to see how your group can donate.
- Five Favorite Community Service Projects: Here are five great ideas that your group can easily set up and begin working on.
- Service Project Ideas: There are countless ways you can make a difference in others’ lives. Here are several more suggestions for serving your community.
- Water Conservation Activities: Learn here how to educate others on the importance of water safety and how to improve the quality of water in your area.
- Teens for Jeans: Teenagers can greatly affect the lives of the homeless by donating their jeans to this cause.
- Organize a Book Drive: Collect books to help kids improve their reading skills.
- School Garden: Creating a garden at your school is a great way to encourage community improvement and to teach gardening skills.
- Projects to Serve: Here are even more ways that you can serve the community in a fun way. Either on a special day of service or a free weekend, you can put these into action.
- Warm Up America: This organization accepts knitted items that go to those who are in need of warmth and protection from the elements.
- Hygiene Kits: These kits will be sent to people in America and around the world who have been affected by poverty or natural disasters. World Vision is well-known for their work in this area.
- Community Service Ideas: These are some categories of service along with ideas on how to improve people’s lives.
- Kids Giving Back: No matter how old someone is, there are ways for them to serve the community. Check here for multiple ideas for how kids and teens can get involved and information about why community service matters.
Do you have another method of finding service opportunities that you like? What has worked for you? See contact button above.