Volunteering in Public Service: How to Gain Experience Through Giving Back
From helping to eliminate poverty and improving public health to tackling environmental issues and ensuring social safety, learn how you can contribute to your community through volunteering
Last Updated: 08/14/2020
From firefighters and police officers to teachers and social workers, those who dedicate their lives to public service are usually answering a calling. It’s this calling to make their communities safer, healthier, more educated, and all around better that leads them to pursue careers in public service. If you have this same calling to do social good, a career serving the public may be right for you. But how do you get there? Through volunteering in public service, you not only get to answer your calling sooner, but you get the opportunity to test drive your future career, meet the professionals you may one day call your colleagues, and most of all, start making a difference in the lives of the people around you. Use this guide to learn how to get started, find valuable resources, and see how volunteering can help you gain experience while giving back.
Featured Volunteer Resources from STEPS
Learn useful information about the two largest public service volunteer organizations in the U.S. and find out how they compare and contrast.
Whether you want to serve children in your community or make a difference in the lives of children internationally, discover the opportunities and organizations dedicated to helping kids and learn how you can get involved.
From dogs and cats to elephants and lions, there are endless volunteer opportunities where you can make a difference in the lives of animals. Discover the different ways and different places where you can put your compassion and interest to use helping animals.
Choosing to volunteer during a gap year is an excellent way to see what’s out there before making decisions about your future education and career path. Learn how you can impact others while exploring the world by volunteering on your gap year.
Do you want to show your appreciation to the veterans of our country? From preparing meals and organizing events to providing legal services, explore volunteer opportunities with vets, gain expert insight, and learn how you can start making a difference.
Learn about and compare two of today’s best nonprofit organizations for youth volunteering. See which one is right for you and how you can make a positive difference in the lives of local youth.
From alternative spring break programs and summer abroad volunteering to campus fundraising and political organizing, learn the best ways to give back as a student. Plus, get tips for balancing volunteer work and college life.
Learn about rewarding opportunities where you can give back and make an impact remotely with our step-by-step guide to becoming a virtual volunteer.
Different Ways to Do Good Through Volunteer Work
Whether you’re interested in volunteer firefighting or you want to get practice teaching local students, there are a variety of public service volunteer positions just waiting to be filled by hopeful public servants. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can start helping your community while getting your foot in the door with a future career.
How Does Volunteering Benefit You?
Volunteering in public service doesn’t only benefit the community. In fact, there is much evidence to support the argument that volunteers themselves experience a variety of benefits for their work. Aside from boosting your resume and giving you a significant opportunity to give back to your community, volunteering has some significant yet often overlooked positive effects on the mind and body. Below are a few of the ways you’ll benefit from giving back.
Questions to Ask Yourself
With all of these volunteer options, deciding where you fit can be a little overwhelming. In order to get started on the right path, begin by asking yourself these questions to hone in on what will be a good fit for you.
5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Volunteer Experience
There are a few things to try to keep in mind as you enter into the world of volunteering. Here are 5 tips to help you get the most out of your experience as a public service volunteer.
Searching for Public Service Volunteer Opportunities
Here are some official websites for government-funded volunteer organizations. These sites provide you with thorough information on what the organizations do, what volunteer opportunities are available, and how to apply.
Here are some additional resources that highlight volunteer opportunities through small organizations, nonprofits, and more.