Ready to start volunteering? You Connect site offers several easy ways to find the right volunteer opportunities for you!
Note: "Opportunities" and "Needs" are the same. Some sites use one word, some sites use the other. We use the two words interchangeably in this article. They mean the same thing.
How to Find a Volunteer Opportunity
Start by going to your local Connect site. If you're not logged into the site automatically (you'll need to have an account for that), you'll see the Volunteer Now button in the middle of your screen.
Click Volunteer Now to view a page listing the most recently posted volunteer opportunities on the site.
If you're logged in automatically, you'll be taken to your volunteer dashboard. From there, just click the Needs button in the sidebar menu, and you'll see the same listing of needs.
You will be able to view the volunteer needs by Grid, List, Calendar, or Map. Select your view by clicking one of these selections:
Bear in mind that volunteer needs that are ongoing or run until a certain date will not show on the Calendar view.
If your site has pages and pages of volunteer opportunities, it can be daunting to try to find which ones are best for you. With the sorting and filtering tools, you can narrow down the list by date, type of volunteer work, agency, and more.
Searching by Phrase or Keyword
Use the Search By field to search needs by phrase.
Press the ENTER key or click Search to see your results. For more details on how the search feature works, see A Note on Searching by Phrase or Keyword, below.
By default, needs are listed with the more recently added or updated need first. To change this order, use the Sort By dropdown to sort needs by newest first, oldest first, alphabetically, or soonest first.
Note: If you sort by soonest first, the system will only show those needs that are associated with a date; it will not include ongoing needs.
From the Filter By dropdown, you can select to filter needs by the criteria shown below.
Once you've selected a filter, you'll be prompted to enter or select criteria to narrow the filter. For example, if you select Interest, you'll need to also select an interest. Click Search to see all needs associated with the interest you selected. Filtering options are described below.
|Age||Select Age, and then enter your age (or the age of the volunteer, if you're searching for needs for someone else). Click Search to view all needs that have an age range that includes the age you entered, as well as any needs that have no age range specified.|
|Agency||Select Agency, and then select an agency from the dropdown that appears. Click Search to view all active needs that have been posted by that agency.|
|Available Slots||If you are responding as a team, you can filter for needs with enough spots to accommodate your team size. Select Available Slots, and then add in the number of people on you team.|
|County||Select County, and then select a county from the dropdown that appears. Click Search to view all active needs that have been posted for that county. (Your Connect site determines county by the ZIP code associated with each need.)|
|Date||To find needs that occur on a certain date, select Date and then select a specific date from the dropdown that appears. Only those dates associated with active needs will be available for selection. Click Search to view all needs for your selected date.|
|Distance||To find needs within a certain distance of a ZIP code, select Distance. From the dropdown that appears, select the mileage, and then enter the ZIP code in the next field. Click Search to view all needs within the selected number of miles of that ZIP code.|
|Family Friendly||When posting a need, an agency can specify whether the need is family-friendly. To find family-friendly needs (or to find needs that are not family-friendly), select Family Friendly, specify whether or not you want to see family-friendly needs, and click Search.|
|Impact Area||If your site uses impact areas, you can search needs by impact area. If your site does not use impact area, this option will not be available.|
|Initiative||If your site uses public initiatives, you can search needs by initiative. If your site does not have any public initiatives, this option will not be available.|
|Interest||To view for the needs that best match your volunteer interests, select Interest, and then select a specific interest from the dropdown that appears. You can search for one interest at a time.|
|Outdoors||Looking for needs that are specifically indoors or outdoors? Select Outdoors, and from the dropdown that appears, select whether you want to view indoor or outdoor needs. Click Search to view your results!|
|Qualification||Find needs that require a selected qualification. If you have not met the qualification, you may not be able to view or respond to the needs that require it. Click here to learn more about qualifying for volunteer opportunities.|
|Site||If your site shares its needs with another site in your community, you can search for needs by site. This option is not available on all Connect platforms.|
|Teams||It's easy to find team opportunities with the Team search. Just select Teams and then specify that you want to view needs that accept team signups. (Or select that you want to see needs that only accept individual signups.) Click Search to see the needs that match your criteria.|
|User Group||If you belong to a user group and needs have been assigned to your user group, you can select to view only those needs.|
|Virtual Need||These are needs that can be done remotely, either online or from home.|
|Wheelchair Accessible||Use the Wheelchair Accessible option to find all needs that are wheelchair-accessible.|
Note: You can only search criteria that have been associated with needs on your site. For example, if you use the Agency search to find Salvation Army needs but the Salvation Army doesn't have any active needs on the site, then "Salvation Army" will not show up in the list of agencies.
You can search by multiple criteria. To do so, repeat the process of selecting a filter. Your search options will show up in a stacked list, as shown below.
Note: You cannot search for more than one category within a search option. For example, you can't search for two different agencies' needs in a single search.
A Note on Searching by Phrase or Keyword
When search by phrase or keyword, your Connect system looks for variations on what you've entered. For example, if you search for "tutor," your results will include items that have "tutoring," "tutored," and/or "tutors" in their titles or descriptions.
You can also opt to leave out certain terms for your search by including a "minus" sign. For example, if you are interested in tutoring adults but not children, you might run a search on "tutor - children." The minus sign tells the system to pull all items with the word "tutor" (or forms of it), but to exclude those items that include both "tutor" and "children" (and "child"). Note that you should include a space on either side of the minus sign.
Making the Search Easier: Update Your User Profile
You can specify your volunteer interests in your user profile. Once you've done that, your Connect site can match you to new needs as they are posted on the site. You can learn about these needs in a couple of ways:
- Your Volunteer Dashboard includes a "Suggested Needs" area that lists the most recently updated needs that match your interests.
- You'll receive a weekly email informing you of new needs in your interest area that have been posted in the past week. This email also includes information about any need posted by your fanned agencies.
To update your interests (as well as your preferred causes and fanned agencies), click your profile dropdown (located in the top right-hand corner of your Connect site screen) and select View Profile.
Select the causes (which will match you up with agencies), interests (which will match you up with needs), and agencies you're passionate about. To view your options, click the + icon. In the example below, the volunteer has selected Education and Technology as interests.
This volunteer's Dashboard will now show the most recent needs that are associated with education and technology, and they will receive an email weekly informing them of any new opportunities in education or technology that have been posted,
Find What You're Looking For?
Click here to learn more about responding to a volunteer need.