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Top Community Service Ideas

By Cait Williams

Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: March 26th, 2024
Top Community Service Ideas

Community service ideas can be harder to come up with than you might expect. How do you know what needs your community has? How do you know what things you’re qualified to help with? In this article, we’ll discuss  a variety of ways to volunteer in your community and how to find them. Keep reading to learn more!

Finding a community service project

There are many reasons why you may want to participate in community service. It’s a great way to engage with your community, help local organizations, and it never hurts to add volunteering  to your college applications. When choosing how you want to serve your community, consider some of the questions below.

Questions to consider

  • Do you enjoy working with people one on one?
  • Are there any academic subjects that you enjoy teaching others about?
  • Do you have a skill that you can help others learn?
  • Do you like organizing events?
  • Are you interested in local politics?
  • Do you enjoy working with animals?

Once you answer these questions, you should have a good idea of in what ways you would enjoy serving your community. But the question still remains, how do you find somewhere to volunteer or donate? Some organizations don’t always advertise their volunteer opportunities or how you can donate to them. The questions below should help you identify different places you can contact about these opportunities.

Questions to consider

  • Does your community have a library, local food bank, or humane society?
  • Are there any local nonprofits in your city?
  • Are there any local churches or religious organizations near you?
  • Are there any areas you know your community specifically 

Related: Top community service scholarships

Community service ideas

Donating school supplies

Throughout the year, various organizations accept donations of school supplies and backpacks for kids who cannot afford them. This is a great way to give back to your community by doing more than just donating money. Depending on which organizations you choose to donate to, lists of specific supplies that need donated are typically made available. 

Donating food

No matter where you’re from, it’s likely there is a nearby food pantry in need. Food pantries are great places to collect donations either on your own or through a food drive. Organizing a food drive at your school, through a local club or through any other organizations you’re a part of is a great way to contribute to your community. 

Foster shelter animals

Local humane societies and animal shelters are places where you can volunteer, make donations, and even foster animals. You can find out what your local shelter needs most by calling or checking their website. Fostering an animal or volunteering to walk dogs is a great way to involve your whole family in your community service. 

Speak with local politicians

Serving your community can include more than just volunteering and donating items. Paying attention to local politics is a great way to be involved with your community. People may not know about new political initiatives taking place. Writing petitions, educating people around you, and attending city events are all ways you can learn about what’s going on around you. 


Tutoring is an easy way to become involved in your community. The great thing about tutoring is that you can do it on your own with individuals or with various organizations. In order to tutor, you don’t need to be an expert on the topic you are teaching. For example, you can teach people to speak your language without knowing theirs. 

Also see: Top virtual volunteer opportunities

Teach music lessons

Giving music lessons obviously only makes sense if you love music and can sing and/or play an instrument. If you do, sharing your skills with others for free is a great way to invest in local community members. 

Volunteer at the library

Volunteering at your local library is another way to help out and also get to know members of your community. Libraries typically offer a wide variety of programs for children and adults, especially during the summer. Check your library’s website or call them to inquire about more information. 

Volunteer at a hospital 

Volunteering at a local hospital is an extremely rewarding way to give back to your community. You should keep in mind though that volunteering at a hospital can sometimes be a lengthy process. If you’re planning to volunteer at a hospital, make sure you plan out enough time to submit your application. Sometimes there is specific training required before you are allowed to volunteer. 

Host a park clean up

Helping pick up trash in local parks can be an easy, yet impactful way to help your community. All you need is a few garbage bags and some dedicated friends to help you out. There will be a bit of organization and planning required, but other than that, you’ll be well on your way to helping clean up your community!

Learn something new and pass it on

While reading this list, you may have not found any ideas that are applicable to you for an assortment of reasons. Maybe your community doesn’t face the issues talked about above, or perhaps they do, but you feel you lack education on those topics. If that sounds like you, that’s okay. For the last idea on this list, our suggestion is to take some time educating yourself through a class or training program. Perhaps your local community center teaches CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or your police department offers programs to combat distracted driving. Both of these are great opportunities to learn about a topic and then implement what you learn in your community.

Don’t miss: What looks good on college applications?

Closing thoughts

The ideas listed in this article are just some ideas to get you started. There are dozens of different ways that you can serve your community that aren’t listed in this article. If you want to look for even more ways to serve your community, JustServe is a website that allows you to  input your zip code to find nearby community service projects.

If you are thinking about the coming summer months, check out our top summer programs for high school students.

Learn 10 ways to “rock your summer” before senior year with some nifty tips. While you are thinking ahead, make sure you apply for all the scholarships you qualify for while you are eligible!

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Frequently asked questions about community service

Do I have to be a certain age to participate in community service projects?

How old you have to be to volunteer will depend on what organization you are volunteering for. A hospital may have an older age requirement than your local library. Some organizations may let you volunteer at any age, but require that you have a parent who can volunteer with you.

Do I have to commit to volunteering more than once?

Again, this is a question that can only be answered by the specific organization you are planning to work with. Some places will require you to commit to serving a few consecutive times. However, others may offer plenty of single volunteer opportunities.

How do I begin the process of volunteering or making a donation?

Volunteering with an organized charity or non-profit may require you to fill out an application and even get a background check. You will need to check with each individual place you plan to volunteer to find out what their requirements are.

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