Pennsylvania

19 Great Volunteer Opportunities Around Philadelphia

Get involved in your community by sharing your passions, talents, and skills with one of these organizations.


MANNA offers a range of volunteer opportunities, including working in the kitchen. / Photograph Courtesy of MANNA

Ready to make a difference in your community? Here in Philly, there are so many organizations that benefit and thrive because of their volunteers. Whether it be with your office, team, or just yourself, here are some places where you can donate your time and skills.

Animal Care Opportunities

ACCT Philly

What they do: Provide shelter and services for homeless, abandoned and abused animals.

Ways to get involved: Whether by yourself or with a larger group, there are plenty of ways to help out with dog walking, adoption services, and providing transportation for animals leaving the shelter. To help prevent overcrowding, you can also sign up to foster animals and bring a furry friend home to care for. Learn more here.

PAWS: Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society 

What they do: Working to make Philadelphia a no-kill city, PAWS is a rescue partner who aims to provide basic veterinary care to in-need pets, while finding homes for animals.

Ways to get involved: Through working adoption events, fostering, maintaining the shelter, or providing care to the animals, there are plenty of ways to make sure each animal feels loved and cared for during their time at PAWS. Learn more here.

The Schuylkill Center Wildlife Clinic

What they do: Each year, The Wildlife Clinic treats over 2,000 native Pennsylvania species of small mammals, birds, raptors, reptiles and amphibians to promote wildlife rehabilitation on over 340 acres of fields, forests, ponds and streams.

Ways to get involved: No matter what skills you have or experience level you’re at, The Wildlife Clinic offers many ways to get involved. For those who are a bit timid handling the animals, there are clinic support, maintenance, and wildlife hotline opportunities available. If animals are your thing, you can get hands on and help with hand-feeding, monitoring the animals’ progress, and assisting with meal distribution. Learn more here.

Sports and Fitness 

Back On My Feet

What they do: Using a unique model, Back on My Feet seeks to change the way homelessness is approached by implementing the power of running, community support, and essential employment and housing resources.

Ways to get involved: No matter your interest, whether it be exercising or mentoring, there is an opportunity for you to use your skills. Morning Circle-Up volunteers run, walk, or jog a couple times a week with members (if you are a morning person this is the perfect fit!). Career Coaches and Workshop Volunteers are matched with members and spend time mentoring them through workforce development opportunities to help with job placement, so if you are an expert in a field that could benefit a member, this is a meaningful and impactful way to give back. Learn more here.

Girls on the Run

What they do: With over 12,000 locations across the United States, Girls on the Run inspires girls to reach their full potential, build confidence, and promote a healthy lifestyle using a fun and experienced-based program which incorporates running.

Ways to get involved: Through coaching, volunteers will organize weekly lessons at GOTR practices designed to empower and motivate participants. Don’t let the name fool you, volunteering to be a coach does not mean you need to be an avid runner, just the desire to support and encourage all participants. There are also opportunities to give your time at the seasonal 5K with hospitality needs, registration, and refreshment hand out. Learn more here.

Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports

What they do: Through engagement in sports and recreation in the community, the Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports provides equipment, training and venues to create opportunities for people with disabilities to improve their health and well-being through participation in sports and wellness programs.

Ways to get involved: Sharing a common love and passion of sport, volunteers take on duties like maintaining equipment and working with the athletes to customize adaptations to meet their needs. All are welcome no matter the talent and level of experience. Learn more here.

Special Olympics Pennsylvania – Philadelphia

What they do: Through year-round sports training for individuals with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics provides participants the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and build relationships with other athletes in the community.

What they do: With 11 different sports offered throughout the year, there are many ways to volunteer, such as coaching, assistant coaching, event management, or even bringing your loud and proud voice to cheer on the athletes as they compete. Learn more here.

Educational and Enrichment Programs

ASAP: After School Activities Partnerships

What they do: ASAP believes that all children and youth throughout Philadelphia have the potential to excel if provided the right tools. Through after-school programs and resources, children are kept safe and engaged, all while being prepared to find success in their futures.

What they do: If you are interested in chess, drama, debate, or scrabble, ASAP has opportunities for you to get involved with the Philadelphia youth no matter what your skill level is with these activities. Volunteers can start their own club at a local community center, library, or non-profit, or help out at one already established, helping to keep kids engaged all year-round. Learn more here.

Mighty Writers

What they do: Upholding their mantra of “Think clearly and write with clarity,” Mighty Writers teaches more than 3,500 kids to write every year through free workshops, one-on-one coaching, and writing competitions.

Ways to get involved: From filmmakers to business professionals, over 400 volunteers every year make a difference in students’ lives. Currently, there are two ways to support the efforts of Mighty Writers: through one-on-one writing with a child, or through food and diaper distribution. Both have lasting impacts on not only the students involved, but also those who dedicate their time to the organization. Learn more here.

Philadelphia Futures 

What they do: Philadelphia Futures provides low-income, first-generation college students with resources and opportunities needed for admission and success in college.

Ways to get involved: Acting as a long-term mentor, volunteers help students stay on track to graduate from both high school and college and help students set and reach their goals throughout their education process. Opportunities to help students with tutoring, after-school clubs, and the application process are also available, so there are no shortages of ways to make in impact with these aspiring college graduates. Learn more here.

Philadelphia Reading Coaches

What they do: Striving to improve reading skills in the community, Philadelphia Reading Coaches combine access to books, support and volunteers to motivate young students, kindergarten through third grade, to enhance their reading skills through fun experiences and free books to take home.

Ways to get involved: Helping to ensure Philly’s children have all the resources needed to help them read at an appropriate grade level, Reading Coaches spend one-on-one time with a child, helping them to further their reading capabilities and discover their love of books. Learn more here.

The Great Outdoors

Fairmount Park Conservancy

What they do: Supporting 10,200 acres and more than 200 neighborhood parks, Fairmount Park Conservancy leads capital projects and historic preservation efforts, fosters stewardship, and develops innovative programs to help develop and promote the Philadelphia parks.

Ways to get involved: Every week, volunteers gather at Fairmount Park to help with general clean-up, including weeding, trash removal, and ridding the park of invasive vines. Gloves and trash bags are provided, so just bring yourself and the desire to help! Twice a year, they host a citywide park clean-up called “Love your Park,” which typically attracts thousands of volunteers. If you want to get out of the office, corporate volunteer events are available and are guaranteed to be rewarding and engaging for your whole team. Learn more here.

PHS: Pennsylvania Horticultural Society

What they do: Believing in the power of horticulture to bring about positive change to the environment and society, PHS focuses their efforts on creating healthy living environments, increasing access to fresh foods, expanding economic opportunity, and building meaningful connections.

Ways to get involved: Volunteers support the community in a number of ways, such as planting trees, public landscaping, and working in community gardens. There is no experience required, just a commitment to creating and sustaining a healthy society. Click here for opportunities surrounding your neighborhood. Learn more here.

POP: Philadelphia Orchard Project

What they do: Through planting and supporting community orchards in the city, POP envisions urban ecosystems, almost exclusively in low-wealth neighborhoods, to give people access to fresh fruit to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Ways to get involved: There are a number of events to volunteer at, including planting and caring for the orchards and various educational programs. Behind the scenes efforts are also needed for communications efforts, fundraising and outreach in the community. Learn more here.

Refugees/Immigrant Organizations 

Nationalities Service Center

What they do: The National Service Center works to support immigrants and refugees with the resources to live safe and stable lives, including legal services, health services, and “community integration.”

Ways to get involved: Adapting to life in a new country can be overwhelming. Volunteers can help in the transition process through tasks like arranging to drive families from the airport to their new home, arranging housing and setting up those homes, and even cooking culturally appropriate meals to have ready upon arrival. For a longer-term commitment, volunteers are also needed to help teach English and will receive proper training to do so successfully. Learn more here.

HIAS Pennsylvania

What they do: Helping low-income immigrants build new lives in the community, HIAS works to address their needs and advocate for their inclusion into society through access to legal and social services.

Ways to get involved: If you are an attorney, or hold a specialized skill in categories like communications, research, or have other general expertise, there are opportunities to volunteer your time and services pro bono. With housing being another area of need, if you have an extra living space, you can use it to provide a welcoming temporary stay for folks as they settle into their new community. Learn more here.

Food Services and Shelters

Coalition Against Hunger

What they do: Connecting people with food assistance programs, a network of food pantries, and nutrition education, the Coalition Against Hunger aims to provide people in the community the food they need to live a healthy life.

Ways to get involved: There are a number of ways to get involved with this organization including serving meals at food pantries or soup kitchens and attending events to educate the community about hunger and assistance programs. The SNAP hotline support is also in need of energetic volunteers to field calls from those needing help locating a food pantry or learning more about SNAP benefits. Learn more here.

Philabundance

What they do: Seeking to end hunger in the community, Philabundance distributes more than 24 million pounds of food a year to people in need by partnering with critical service providers to help break the cycle of poverty.

Ways to get involved: Located in South Philly, the Hunger Relief Center is the hub of volunteer activity where you can help sort donated food and prepare it for distribution. If you enjoy cooking, consider getting involved with the Philadundance Community Kitchen which is a vocational program designed to prepare low-income students for working in the food industry. In this program students will prepare and package meals for those in need, all while preparing themselves for a successful future. Learn more here.

MANNA

What they do: Understanding the power of food as medicine, MANNA provides “medically tailored” meals and nutrition education, while striving to improve the health for those with serious illnesses and empower them to work towards a better quality of life.

Ways to get involved: For those who enjoy time in the kitchen there are plenty of opportunities to help chop vegetables, bake and cook, and prepare and package the meals to be distributed. After the packaging is complete, the last step of delivering meals takes place, which relies on volunteers to drive and deliver a week’s worth of food to MANNA clients. Learn more here.




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