43 Incredible Community Service Ideas

Emma DavisUncategorized Leave a Comment

Looking for community service ideas? Then we’ve got you covered! From projects to raise money, help clean up your neighborhood, to helping a local homeless shelter. Community service projects benefit the world around you! There are so many ways to get involved, and it can be as simple as looking out your own front door.

Partner with your church to see what they might already be involved in. Typically, churches work in several different community service areas and have ways for everyone to join in. Whether it be painting someone’s fence or helping a local youth sports team with a car wash, there are endless opportunities!

We hope any one of these community service project ideas can inspire you to make your community a better place.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Finding the right project

Before we start looking through service project ideas, let’s talk about what separates good ideas from great ones. 

  • Passion: Do something meaningful to you. You may see a timely need in your community or an opportunity to make a difference with something close to your donors’ hearts.
  • Relevancy:  The key to understanding how to retain volunteers is knowing how to make the service project relevant to your nonprofit’s mission. You and your staff already know the communities you serve and how many legs your work has, so use that to continue the impact through your volunteer efforts. If your organization focuses on environmentalism, teaching music lessons at your local day care might not align. 
  • Need: Identify genuine needs. No community is perfect—there are people, businesses, and causes that require time, love, and care. Find them.
  • Organization: Determine the who, what, where, when, and how behind your project. Establish clear lines of communication and keep logistics neat and tidy.
  • People: Establish a team dedicated to your specific project, aside from their day jobs at your organization. Find leaders, thinkers, planners, and doers.
  • Timing: Look for the best time to make it happen. A service project on Tuesday at 10 a.m. might not work for most of your busy volunteers, but what if you moved the project to Saturday at 10 a.m.?

Outdoor Community Service Ideas

1. Clean Up the Park

Clean up trash at your local park, river, or recreational area. While you’re at it, look for other future service opportunities. For example, you might notice a broken bench or weathered playground equipment. Many organizations find these activities successful around Earth Day. What better way to collect Earth Day donations than by encouraging volunteers to get involved in caring for the community in which they are a part of?

2. Rake Leaves

Visit someone or a community center that could really use help raking leaves. Help clean up their yards, clear snow from driveways in the winter, and grow grass in the spring. 

3. Build a Shed

Parks, churches, schools, and even single-family homes might need a shed to store equipment. If you have a handy person on your crew, get their help to build a simple shelter for storing outdoor belongings.

5. Mow Lawns

See an overgrown yard or community area? Offer to mow the grass. This improves the look and feel of the entire community and prevents critters from nesting in places they shouldn’t.

6. Paint Old Buildings

It’s awesome what a fresh coat of paint can do. Volunteer a touch-up paint job on homes or community buildings in need.

7. Install Wheelchair Ramps

Know of a family with a recent disability? Offer to install a new wheelchair ramp to make entering their home more wheelchair accessible. 

8. Host a Car Wash

Give free car washes to anyone in the community. While you’re at it, raise awareness. For example, you might do the car wash at your local animal shelter!

9. Help a walk-a-thon.

Volunteer to run/walk/ride for an event, like Race for the Cure or Relay for Life.

10. Help bring awareness to the invisible community that lives among us.

Organize or participate in a sleep-out to connect with organizations that support unhoused individuals. Homeless shelters in your area will have more information about this activity!

Indoor Community Service Ideas

11. Host a Back-to-School Supplies Drive

Brainstorming different fundraising ideas for schools in your local community? Collect school supplies for families in need. Everything from notebooks to crayons to folders to pencils—it all counts. Local schools should have a list of supplies that they’re most in need of!

12. Collect Nonperishable Foods for the Hungry

Hosting a food drive can be a great community service activity around giving holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Donors get to clean out their pantries, and shelters get a fresh supply of canned and boxed food—everyone wins.

13. Start a Holiday Donation Drive for Toys

As a holiday fundraising initiative, collect toys to give to children in low-income families, so everyone gets a gift during the holiday season. Check out Operation Christmas Child to see this toy drive in action.

14. Donate clothes that you no longer wear.

Look through your closet to find items in good condition that you’ve outgrown or don’t wear anymore. In the era of fast fashion, you can do your part by making sure your clothes can be useful to those who need it. Aside from local shelters, you can also donate to places that benefit veterans or victims of domestic violence.

15. Pass on birthday gifts for the benefit of others.

For your next birthday, start a fundraiser and ask for donations to be made in lieu of presents.

16. Give back to the troops.

You can make a difference to soldiers at home and overseas by participating in programs that support them in a variety of ways.

17. Find others to join a shared cause.

Create or join a campaign through DoSomething.org. You can choose the cause, the amount of time you have to give and the type of service in which you want to participate (donations, face-to-face, events, taking a stand, etc.).

18. Donate books.

Collect books and other reading materials for shelters, libraries and schools, then ask if they need volunteer readers. Chances are you and many others have plenty of books you aren’t going to read again and someone might like to!

19. Help those close to home.

During the summer, intense heat can make it difficult for your older neighbors to maintain their homes and yards. During winter, the snow can blocks paths, sidewalks can be icy, and the heat could even fail leaving the most vulnerable members of society at risk. Checking in on your neighbors, creating a meal train, or just helping out on a regular basis can make all the difference. Love starts at home.

20. Help the Internet be a tool for everyone.

Growing up in the information age puts you at a huge advantage, and it’s pretty easy to spread your knowledge by doing something like teaching computer skills and how to navigate the latest technology.

21. Teach your favorite subjects to those who struggle.

Do you love science? History? Literature? Volunteer to tutor! If you excel in a particular subject, then share your knowledge with other students in your school who may be struggling or work with a service group to tutor underserved children.

22. Help spread knowledge at your local museum.

Do you love the wonders of natural history and the stories of the past? You can help keep these institutions alive by donating your time and energy at your local museum. While you might not be excavating a dig site, every little bit helps them keep the love of science and history alive.

23. Help at your local library.

You can volunteer to read to senior citizens, children, and help out with local literacy programs. Whether it’s shelving books or helping out with computer questions, you can make a difference.

24. Help future athletes find their feet.

Spend most of your free time on the field? Volunteer to coach or referee with a youth team. Your town recreation department, Boys and Girls Club or Y is probably looking for volunteers!

25. Create and donate warm clothing for those in need.

Are you a wizard at knitting or crochet? Maybe you want to learn? Either way, you can make sure your creations get to the right people. Whether its making blankets or sweaters for knitting hats for infants in the NICU, there are many ways to give back.

26. A simple word game can go a long way.

Have a big vocabulary and a little time to kill? Test your skill on freerice.com. The organization will donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Program for every answer you get right. Once you’ve made Webster proud, think of ways to collect donations for other food-relief organizations near you.

27. Help a small non-profit become social media stars.

Believe it or not, the hours you spend on Instagram are good for more than just grandparent-complaint-fuel. Many nonprofits don’t have the bandwidth to run their social media accounts, and someone with expertise can be a real big help.

28. Back to basics: food.

Many unhoused individuals, either living in cars or on the streets, struggle to find a meal. Food pantries can be limited and without a place to cook, it will be hard to turn groceries in a meal. Making brown bag lunches with food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and handing them out to local unhoused populations can help out those in your community.’

29. Share the music you create

Do you sing or play a musical instrument? Volunteer to give music lessons to people in your community, or perform at local shelters or senior organizations. Perhaps you can help organize a local community event to play music.

30. Make a difference in a child’s life.

Events like “World Foster Day” always need support, as they aim to help children in foster care feel loved, cared for, and special no matter what the circumstances.

31. Help your local community center.

Community centers throw local events, aimed towards families, students, and senior citizens in the area. They could always use help to run events, decorate, and more.

32. Share the fun with those who cannot participate.

Been told you’re “too old” to trick-or-treat because you’re “in high school” and “at this point you’re basically stealing candy from children?” Never fear. Dust off that old Jedi costume and put on your walking shoes, because no one will judge you if you’re collecting for UNICEF this Halloween.

33. Join one of the many ways to celebrate Earth Day.

Mark your calendar! Earth Day is April 22, and a whole slew of nonprofits have planting or cleanup events to give the planet a well-deserved pat on the back. You can also check to see if there are any festivals in your area.

34. Put food on the table for those who don’t have any.

Thanksgiving is another rallying point for service organizations. Invite your whole family to volunteer with you at a local shelter near the holiday to aid in one of their large-scale meal operations.

35. Bring a smile to a child’s face.

Once you’ve donated toys and games, help charities in your area distribute them! Local organizations often host holiday parties or gift giveaways. Check with local shelters, foster organizations, libraries, and religious organizations to see when they need volunteers or donated goods.

36. Help animals find forever homes.

Channel the energy you expend sending dog pictures to your group chat and start to use it to help the real lives of real animals. Check the volunteer guidelines at your local animal shelter or ASPCA chapter.

37. Help disadvantaged kids feel heard and appreciated.

Become a mentor to a student through organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters. They accept students over the age of 16 for their after-school mentoring programs.

38. Help stories come to life at your local library.

Ask your library to see if they need volunteers for after-school clubs or children’s book groups. If you’re lucky, you could wind up performing afternoon puppet shows in a hat and a cape or having glitter thrown at you by a herd of third-graders!

39. Help children with disabilities shine.

Work with special-needs kids or adults through an organization like Best Buddies or Special Olympics.

40. Deliver food for those who are homebound.

Check out the opportunities at your local chapter of Meals on Wheels, which delivers food to homebound residents. You’ll get to see your community, forge new relationships, and maybe even share a meal with a new friend!

41. Make a friend from across the generations.

Ask if you can drop by one of your local elder-care facilities to chat with residents who don’t have family or frequent visitors.

42. Support parents in need during tough times by helping with childcare.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to live like you’re in a teen movie. Offer to babysit! But rather than watch your neighbor’s fearsome 8-year-old twins, contact a local women’s shelter, foster parent group, or social services department to volunteer your care.

43. Help your local, small theater group keep the love of arts alive.

Tap into your love of the performing arts and volunteer to usher at your local symphony or theater company.

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