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20 Volunteer Ideas for Teens & Families

September 15, 2016


As our children are moving into the high school years we are encouraging them to seek opportunities to get involved in the community through volunteering.

Volunteering provides many benefits for teens. By participating in community service activities teens can meet new people, learn the value of serving others, build life skills,explore potential career options, and more.

If your teen is college bound there may be another good reason for volunteering — colleges often look for work and volunteer experience on the college application.

You might even want to consider helping your family (including your teen) find volunteering activities you can all participate in together. Working on projects together as a family is a special way to build ties to your community and unforgettable family memories.

Together with our friends we would like to share 20 of our favorite volunteer ideas for teens and families:

How to Find Volunteer Opportunities for Teens & Families

There are many places for teens and families to volunteer. Non—profit organizations, churches, and community groups are often looking for people to help with activities and events.

Teens can find volunteer opportunities by visiting sites like  or HandsOn Network. While looking at these sites teens can search for activities that match their interests and/or help them build skills.

Here are a few examples from our family:

  • Because we are big animal lovers our family has been working with a local dog rescue group as a foster family.
  • My oldest son wanted to learn more about law enforcement so he volunteers with the Explorers program.
  • My younger son wanted to strengthen his public speaking skills so he volunteers with our county’s Teen Court program.

Here are a few more ideas from our friends:

Help your teen discover opportunities to use his passions to serve others. – Kris

The Importance of Giving & Serving Others

It is important to help kids and teens understand the needs and concerns of others. We believe hands-on, in-person service activities in the community are the best way to build understanding.

We are thankful to our many friends who are sharing their experiences on this topic (click on the link within each quote to learn more):

Because of our homeschool service projects my children have more compassion for others, notice needs, willingly give up time and resources, joyfully take part in each and every opportunity, and specifically look for ways to help others.- Cindy

The Martin Luther King Day of Service is a moment to work together to fulfill King’s vision for a better America. Eva

Teaching children to serve is such an important thing. If children learn while they are young the value of giving of themselves, not for praise but just because, their lives will be so much better. – Karyn

Helping Kids Help Others – Raising our children to be givers not takers is important. Raising our children to think of others and care for others in need is important too. By Jen

Do you want your kids to learn kindness and service like I do?  I want my kids to naturally desire to show love and kindness to others around them. Here are some fun Acts of Kindness Kids Can do. – Karyn

Every activity on our family’s schedule is carefully considered. Recently, we made acommitment to a new activity that has really blessed our family – serving others. Crystal

Building Life Skills & Character

Volunteering can also help teens build important life skills and positive character traits. For example, by helping to foster homeless dogs my children are learning patience, compassion, and (more practically) how to help dogs learn basic obedience skills so they can find their forever homes. Through his experience with the Explorers program my son is also learning leadership skills that will service him well regardless of what career path he chooses in the future.

Here are some more thoughts on the importance of building these skills from other families:

Character building doesn’t have to be another subject that you tack onto the end of your day. In fact, I would argue that helping your children to develop positive character traits is actually more effective if you use hands-on, real world methods. One way you can do this is by volunteering with your children. – Michelle

Service and Leadership – In our home, learning to serve plays a major role in values training.  Of course, we train our children to serve one another in our home, but we’re also intentional in finding service opportunities outside the home. – Cindy

It’s Our Turn to Lead – Here are a few activities and ideas to teach your students about preserving our earth, while learning about our beautiful planet. – Eva

Additional Volunteering Resources and Ideas

Article found at:


7 Ways to Get Millennials Involved with Your Cause

August 19, 2016


How many times a day
 do you hear the term “Millennial”? Likely, you hear it often because they are one of the most talked about generations. This generation is in constant search of the next best thing and how it will benefit them personally.

Many nonprofits are in search of how to involve this generation with their cause.

Millennials look at the world from a different perspective than the generations before them. They are innovative, creative, and can add value and originality to any organization. Here are a few ways you can attract Millennials to become involved with your nonprofit:


This generation tends to follow nonprofits they admire and trust. Being authentic in the public eye builds trust and compassion for your mission. Authenticity within your brand can inspire Millennials to join your cause.

Consider holding quarterly Impact Calls to share topics such as your financial results and scheduling methodology with key stakeholders. Join GuideStar’s Impact Call August 9th to see how they work, or download a free Impact Call PowerPoint template to get you started on hosting a call of your own.


Think about the last video or commercial you saw regarding a nonprofit organization. If it touched you personally, you would be likely to get involved with the organization and learn more about their story. Human interest stories can evoke responses that bring us amusement, joy, or sorrow.

Using case studies, testimonials, or employee profiles can also be great marketing tools totell your story. Communicating your story using creativity and emotion may appeal to Millennials in your community and maybe even around the world.


If you want to engage Millennials, social media is a great outlet to tell your story and share your mission. Start conversations and ask questions to involve the younger generation. This is how they communicate with their friends and family, read the news, and interact with their community.

Does your nonprofit have a social media strategy? There are great tools to help you get started such as HubSpot’s Social Media Strategy Kit. Engagement on social media is key to standing out to Millennials online.


Baby boomers grew up in a time where they worked for one company until they retired. They wanted upward mobility and the focus was on progressing with the same company throughout their career. Today, the landscape is a little different; the focus has shifted to gaining experience and building valuable skills. Millennials want opportunities for self-improvement by learning different skill sets they can apply to their careers.

Understanding the benefits of volunteering can be a perfect start for creating a strong marketing strategy. Promoting the value of volunteerism can be a great way to appeal to Millennials. They don’t know what you have to offer unless you show them.


In The 2015 Millennial Impact Report, 77% of Millennials said they would be more likely to volunteer if they could leverage a specific skill or expertise to benefit a cause. Promoting different opportunities based on skills could be another way to attract Millennials to your organization. Millennials want to make a difference and if they can use their expertise to do so, they will feel as though their skills are being put to good use.

Fulfilling the right skill sets and expertise your organization needs can be challenging. Focusing your marketing efforts toward Millennials with certain skill sets is a great way to acquire lasting supporters.


Knowing what piques your audience’s interest is key in recruiting a younger set of volunteers. They communicate with each other using a special language unique to their generation. Do some research and see how they interact on social media and in person.

This short video may help you learn how to direct your communication efforts to your target audience. Knowing how they communicate can help you revamp your marketing strategy to appeal to Generation Y.


What is the best way to involve Millennials with your cause? How about hiring them to work for you? Not only will this make your nonprofit more marketable, but it will encourage more Millennials to volunteer for your organization.

There are many ways to recruit Millennials to work for your organization. GuideStar’s Junior Board Series can help you create the most effective ways to recruit Millennials for your nonprofit. Having someone internally who knows how to market to Millennials can help spread your mission.

Having Millennials involved in your organization will help convey your message to a broader audience. Using different tools to tell your story will inspire them to join your cause. They want to be a part of something that will change their lives and the lives of others.

Make sure you are telling a powerful story that has an impact on those who hear it. Be true to your brand and bring passion and purpose to the Millennials in your community.

The preceding is guest post by Ashley Chorpenning, Marketing Communications Specialist for VolunteerHuba cloud-based volunteer management software application that offers online event registration, email and SMS (text) messaging, report generation, and much more.

20 Family Volunteering Ideas

June 10, 2016

20 Ideas to Celebrate National Family Month By Volunteering with Your Family

National Family Month is celebrated from Mother’s Day to Father’s Day. National Family Month and the upcoming Father’s Day weekend provide an opportunity for families to share special time together, to develop or renew relationships, and to remind everyone of the importance of family involvement in raising healthy, confident kids. Service is a great way to spend time together and turn volunteering into a lifetime habit. Looking for ways to serve with your family? Here are 20 ideas:


  • Make cards/care packages for kids in the hospital.
  • Make first aid kits and donate them to a homeless shelter.
  • Organize a day of play for neighborhood kids/families to promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Clean up a neighborhood park/playground.


  • Clean up a local river or stream.
  • Maintain local hiking and walking trails.
  • Do an energy audit of your home and make an effort to reduce energy consumption.

Poverty & Hunger 

  • Grow extra fruits and vegetables to donate to a food pantry.
  • Give out food and water to homeless people.
  • Serve meals at a soup kitchen.
  • Help restock the shelves of a food pantry.


  • Donate old books.
  • Practice reading skills by reading to young children together.
  • Read a book with your child that will teach them skills they can use to better the community.

Human Rights 

  • Make posters educating people about the negative effects of bullying.
  • Write letters to local elected officials advocating for protection against bullying for LGBTQ youth.
  • Host a workshop for youth and their parents about cyber bullying and effective ways to use social media and the internet.

Community Building  

  • Visit a local senior center.
  • Mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor.
  • Donate unused sports equipment to an after school center.

Source: YSA (Youth Service America)

Volunteering is for Everyone

November 1, 2015
  • Youth: Volunteering at an early age teaches responsibility and establishes a strong work ethic and a willingness to serve others.
  • Students: Students gain unmatched real-world experience, are better prepared for a career of service, and may even meet many educational requirements.
  • Adults: 1 in 4 adults volunteered in 2013. From working professionals to stay-at-home parents, adults can contribute their valuable knowledge and skills to the community.
  • Seniors: The lifetime of experience senior adults bring to volunteer opportunities can be one of the most valuable contributions they make to the community.
  • Families: The benefits of volunteering together bring family members closer and teaches good values that are passed on from one generation to the next.
  • Groups: All kinds of teams, clubs, religious and civic organizations can achieve so much when they work together as a group.

For more information go to

5 Surprising Benefits Of Volunteering

August 18, 2015

“One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” – Gordon Hinckle

Here are five surprising benefits of volunteering:

Why do you want to volunteer?

June 15, 2015
  • I want to make a difference: In 2013 volunteers made an unprecedented difference in South Dakota! Nearly 21.5 million hours were volunteered, and the estimated value of this service is close to $483.5 million.
  • I want to meet new friends: 219,290 South Dakotans, including youth, students, adults and seniors volunteered in 2013. So you’re in good company with 219,289 potential new friends when you volunteer!
  • I want to learn new skills: Volunteering is the perfect way to learn new skills, or even hone the ones you already have. There are many different volunteer opportunities for every kind and every level of skill. What will you learn?
  • I want to grow my career: Volunteering connects you to an incredible network of other professionals who volunteer. You can work side-by-side with a leader in your field or a hiring manager at the company where you’d really like to be. In fact, volunteers have a 27% higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than those who don’t volunteer.

Volunteer, Make A Difference –

7 Traits of Amazing Volunteers

May 18, 2015

If you and your organization want to take on the biggest challenges facing humanity you will need an amazing tribe of volunteers. The key word here is amazing.

Benefits of Family Volunteering!

March 1, 2015


Give Back, Get Back — The Top Five Benefits of Family Volunteering! 

1. Volunteering Makes You Happy: Helping Other People Kindles Kindness.

2. The Multiplier Effect: Children who volunteer are more likely to continue with community as adults, and ultimately carry on that tradition with their own family.

3. Improved Health and Well-Being: Volunteering enhances your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction.

4. Children Develop Skills for Success: Social and relationship skills, effective communication, task completion, collaboration, understanding the larger community, compassion and empathy.

5. Increased Social Connections: Volunteering is for everyone!

For more information go to:

Younger generation jumps to volunteer

December 30, 2014

Today’s young Americans are more serious about giving back than their parents were.

In fact, those under age 30 now are more likely to say citizens have a “very important obligation” to volunteer, an Associated Press-GfK poll finds.

Click here to read the full article

South Dakota volunteer rates rank in the top 10 nationwide

December 16, 2014

South Dakotans ranked 7th in the country for overall volunteer rates, according to a newly released federal study.

The annual Volunteering and Civic Life in America study, released today by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), shows that service to others continues to be a priority for South Dakotans and millions of other Americans. Nationwide last year, one in four Americans volunteered through an organization and two-thirds helped their neighbors.

The study ranked South Dakota 7th for the second year in a row for overall volunteer rates, but South Dakota also continues to rank high in the nation for the volunteer rates of Older Adult (4th), Baby Boomers (4th), Veterans (5th), and parent volunteering (9th).

“With Volunteer Centers in the Sioux Empire and Black Hills, we are excited to see this study come out each year,” said Susie Ryks, the Volunteer Services Director for the Helpline Center. “We are encouraged by the study and where South Dakota ranks in comparison to other states.”

The study also highlighted the following volunteering and civic engagement trends for South Dakota.

  • 34.7% of residents volunteer, ranking them 7th among the 50 states and Washington, DC.
  • 219,290 volunteers
  • 21.5 million hours of service
  • $483.5 million of service contributed
  • 34.5 volunteer hours per capita
  • 72.2% of residents engage in “informal volunteering” (for example, doing favors for neighbors)
  • 28.5% frequently discuss politics with family or friends
  • 91.0% frequently eat dinner with other members of the household
  • 46.7% frequently talk with neighbors

“I am excited to spend time with this report over the coming days, and really digest the information it offers,” Ryks said. “The numbers help guide us in our work to engage even more volunteers in service.”

To see the entire report, visit For more information on local volunteerism, dial 2-1-1 or visit