Resolved to Get Involved in 2023? How to Put Your Skills to Use Around Your Community
Ready to find volunteer opportunities that help spread some good and contribute to causes you care about? Your skills and talents may be more than just hobbies—they can help you give back in meaningful ways.
Is 2023 the year you become more active in your community or more impactful with the causes that are important to you? You can get involved and give back doing things other than volunteering at a soup kitchen, hosting a clothing drive, or contributing to a fundraiser.
Perhaps you have hobbies, or love to tinker, or enjoy social activities. Any one of these skills and interests can benefit a community—you just need to find out how to apply them in a meaningful way. Whether your community is your local neighborhood or far away in Ukraine, there is always some way to get involved.
Here are 12 volunteer opportunities that may inspire you to share your talents.
1. Knit Beanies for NICU Babies
Have you amassed an extensive yarn collection? Whether you find knitting and crocheting soothing or you just like to keep your hands busy, consider making hats for babies in the hospital. Babies in the NICU need help staying warm, and providing preemies with handmade hats is one way you can help.
Contact your local hospital to see if they need hats, or send your handicrafts to an organization like Lots of Love.
RELATED: The Best Yarn Winders
2. Sell Your Creations and Donate Proceeds to Charity
The easiest way to fund your creativity while helping out a local organization is to donate part or all of your proceeds to charity. This volunteer opportunity is well suited to those who love making things but need to off-load their growing supply.
Start a small Etsy business with your creative endeavors and help give back to your community or to nonprofits that hold a special place in your heart, like an animal sanctuary or a program for kids from low-income households. Use a charity finder to locate one you’re passionate about, and start earning for them!
3. Get Involved With a Fix-It Cafe
If you have a natural aptitude for repairing things around the house, consider joining a fix-it cafe. If there isn’t one in your area, take some initiative and start your own repair cafe.
These little workshops are places where community members can bring their broken but fixable items and repair them with your help and expertise. By volunteering at a fix-it cafe, you can help people gain essential skills and prevent items from ending up in the landfill prematurely.
4. Build Mini Community Libraries
Are you a hobbyist woodworker? If you’re handy with a saw and adept at small construction projects, delight your local book enthusiasts with a little free library! These pop-up book nooks help build community, inspire readers, and promote literacy. They’re essentially neighborhood book exchanges where community members can donate their books and pick up new ones.
Seniors and those with limited mobility may especially appreciate having a community library nearby as it can encourage them to go for a short walk to get their next book.
5. Fill a Community Pantry From Your Garden
A devoted gardener may grow an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and herbs every year. In some instances, there is too much produce for one person to eat, and these nutrient-rich foods may end up going to waste.
If this sounds like you, donate your extra produce to a community fridge or Freedge. These are places where people can bring food items to share with others in their community. Those who are experiencing food insecurity often lack access to healthier options like produce; the bounty of your garden can help fill this gap and feed the hungry.
6. Do a Puzzle With New Friends
Who would have thought that building or donating puzzles could be a volunteer opportunity? If you enjoy putting together puzzles and would like to make a positive impact on your community, contact a local senior center or residence. They may need puzzle donations for their programs, and there may also be an opportunity for you to volunteer to assemble puzzles with their residents. You’ll be able to offer companionship, and you’ll all enjoy a fun project.
Several puzzle manufacturers have programs like Puzzles for Good, where you can donate a puzzle that will go to those who need it.
RELATED: The Best Puzzle Tables
7. Donate Woodworking Projects to Animal Causes
If you enjoy doing woodworking projects, consider donating your creations to charity. For instance, you could build doghouses for your local animal shelter, or take a page from a Habitat ReStore community project and make dog shelters out of recycled materials.
Fences are yet another type of construction project that can be of value to animal-oriented charities. One such group, Beyond Fences, constructs fences so people with limited means can keep their furry companions safe. You may also find that local animal shelters might appreciate your building know-how for ramps, fences, and outdoor play areas. By donating your time and skills to produce these practical items, you can enhance animals’ lives by giving them shelter and a yard they can safely run around in.
8. Paint a Mural at a Health Care Facility
Are you bursting with artistic talent but lacking a canvas? Lend your painting expertise to a nonprofit or hospital by offering to paint a mural for them. These buildings tend to be very plain and uninspiring, so a wall of art could truly help brighten someone’s day.
Sketch your idea and send it to community health care facilities and other organizations. If you want something less self-directed, nonprofits like the Foundation for Hospital Art make it super easy to get involved with bringing life and art into hospitals.
9. Cook for Others
Foodies and home cooks love making a good meal and sharing it with friends and family. Delicious food generates warm feelings and creates pleasant memories, so why not reach out and let others experience your kitchen creations?
Whether you bring your cooking talents to a soup kitchen for the homeless or make extra portions and deliver care packages to a lonely senior neighbor or grieving friend, your food is bound to be appreciated.
10. 3D Print Medical Supplies
Do you love 3D printing? It’s fun! Just load up a model and within a couple of hours you can have almost anything you can dream up. Many people are pondering ways to improve the world with this technology.
If you have a 3D printer, one way you can help your community is by producing medical supplies. For example, e-NABLE creates prosthetic limbs for amputees. As well, you could create mask tension release bands for hospital workers, or pill bottles that make it easier for those with Parkinson’s to access their medication. With a little imagination, you can put your 3D printer to use helping to improve your community.
11. Offer Yoga Lessons
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, but many people who would like to learn how to do yoga may lack the funds for classes, lack transportation to get to an in-person lesson, or face other obstacles that prevent them from participating. This opens up a great volunteer opportunity in your community: You can help improve access to this healthful practice by creating your own hyper-local version of the Give Back Yoga Foundation.
If this type of volunteering speaks to you, offer community yoga classes for free in the park, or provide classes at senior citizen centers or youth programs.
12. Bake Bread for Good
During the Covid-19 pandemic, bread-making surged in popularity. As you progressed from sourdough to focaccia to baguettes, you may have honed your craft, eventually reaching expert status.
If you learned to love baking bread but found that you were too prone to overindulge, donate your baking talents to organizations like Community Loaves, where you can bake bread for those who need it. That way you can keep the loaves coming, pass your creations along to a good cause, and still enjoy that delicious fresh bread smell in your home.