VolenteerInterested in helping out in your community? There are numerous ways you can lend a hand. Check out these resources for ideas.

Benefits of Volunteering

The volunteer efforts of citizens certainly enhance the community, but did you know that the volunteers benefit, too? Here are just some of the pluses.

  • Making new friends and getting to know more about the community. For some, growing older means a shrinking pool of friends, but not for volunteers.
  • Experiencing new opportunities and conquering new challenges. Doing something "different" or mastering new challenges is the zest of life for many. Volunteers can tackle the "thrill of new adventures" while giving back to their communities.
  • Enhanced sense of well-being. Medical, psychological and social research shows that all volunteers—and particularly older adult volunteers—experienced better health and less depression.
  • Better health. Adults older than 65 who volunteer have better health, better functional abilities, and an increased lifespan.
  • Making a difference. Helping others boosts self-esteem.
  • Possible tax deductions. This may not be your main reason, but if your volunteer expenses aren't reimbursed and you itemize on your federal income tax, mileage and other specified travel expenses are deductible.

Find a Local Volunteer Opportunity

There are many opportunities to volunteer within your local community. The key is knowing where to look. If you're interested in volunteering with the police or fire departments, local government offices, library, parks & recreation departments or other public services then check out the community websites. Some communities have programs that match volunteers with needs.

Find volunteer opportunities around Wisconsin through Volunteer Wisconsin.

Local volunteer websites include:

Volunteering Beyond the Local Community

For opportunities in other areas of the country try VolunteerMatch. The site also lists several national volunteer organizations.

You may also want to check out AARP's Giving Back—Volunteering page. You can volunteer with AARP's programs or find an opportunity in your area.

Senior Corps supports the Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) programs.

The HandsOn Network lists a variety of ways for volunteering.

Volunteer.gov has volunteer opportunities at federal and state natural and cultural resource agencies.

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