A Beginner’s Guide to Volunteering in 2019


According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, in 2018, more than 1.2 million metro Atlanta volunteers contributed 105 million hours of service, worth an estimated $2.5 billion. Woah. Additionally, 42% of metro Atlanta residents do favors for their neighbors and more than half of y’all donated $25 or more to charity. Give yourself a high five!

If you're feeling inspired and looking to make right on your new year’s resolutions, we’ve got you covered with our Beginner's Guide to Volunteering. Whether you're a seasoned, volunteer pro, or just getting started, check out these tips and fun ways to do something good in 2019.

Make Time

Just like anything else in your life, if it’s not on your calendar, it’s probably not happening. You might have blocked time for the gym, to read that book, learn to cook, or to spend more time with your family, but don’t forget about scheduling time to volunteer! Simply adding time to your calendar is a great first step. Once you’ve set time aside, then you can browse our calendar of volunteer opportunities for projects Monday-Saturday.

Short on time? We get it, but don’t sleep on CareerVillage.org, where with just a few minutes of your time, you can answer career and college readiness questions for opportunity youth across metro Atlanta and beyond. Pro tip: This is a great time filler while running/walking on the treadmill.

Finally, you can take giving back with you by downloading Purposity’s free (and super slick) mobile app. Get one weekly notification of a need in our community, read their story and decide if you want to help, all from your phone.


Use Your Skills

Volunteering is more than painting a wall or planting trees (while important and bring a ton of positive impact to the community) and the need for skills-based volunteers is on the rise. Are you a lawyer, accountant, web developer…or have any kind of specific skill? The Atlanta nonprofit community needs your help!

A great first step is to reach out to an organization you’ve volunteered with in the past or would like to volunteer with in 2019 and ask if they could use your help.

[Insert phantom coughing noise here] we have a ton of skills-based volunteer needs here at Hands On Atlanta! For example, we’re looking for handy volunteers who can help write the instructions and do the assembly of beds and bedroom furniture for homeless and low income children.

Looking for something ASAP? To celebrate MLK Day, the United Way is hosting a Day of Innovation and looking for skills based volunteers to think up innovative solutions for some of our communities’ most complex problems.

On January 25-27, our buds at 48in48.org are organizing a 48-hour Super Service event and they’re looking for marketing and tech pros to help build 48 websites for 48 local nonprofits.

Why dip your toes when you can belly smack your way into skills-based volunteering!


Serve With a Friend

Whether out at a movie or on the bike path, having a partner in crime is always more fun. Bringing your bestie, a co-worker, or a significant other with you volunteering is the best. Check out these fun, daily, group friendly opportunities you can sign up for now:

  • Books for Africa – Hang indoors and pack boxes of books for children in Africa. Volunteers as young as 12 can serve and they can accommodate groups up to 40!

  • Dad’s Garage – Help out Atlanta’s top improv theater by checking ID’s, running the line at the bar, scanning tickets, ushering and more. The best part? You get to see the show for free! This is one of our more popular opportunities and they go quick.

  • Trees Atlanta – It will eventually stop raining… and when it does, you should totes help care for plants and projects around town with Trees Atlanta. They offer daily, morning and afternoon shifts, and plenty of fun.


Make New Friends

So, you’re new in town (welcome!) and swiping through your apps to meet someone new has grown old? Give volunteering a try. There’s no better way to meet good people than at a service project. Check out our TeamWorks! program and join our next Kick-Off on January, 26 for a fun and borderline competitive series of volunteer projects.

Our pals at Community Bucket have monthly service projects for young professionals that come stocked with a post event social and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network have bi-monthly volunteer events as well. No need to be a member to join, just more good people, doing good.

Want to try something different? You can create a space for people of diverse backgrounds to connect and come together to solve some of our city’s toughest challenges by hosting a Civic Dinner.    


Make A Difference

Here in Atlanta, 3 out of 4 children considered “economically disadvantaged” are not reading on grade level by the 3rd grade. This is major because 3rd grade is the turning point for students when they start reading to learn and shift from learning to read.

There are lots of ways to help with these literacy challenges, including volunteering with our Discovery program. On Saturdays throughout the school year, volunteers read with, tutor and work with students in various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities. Learn more about Discovery and the impact volunteers create here.

The Pajama Program has a fun, daily opportunity to read stories with kids at their reading parties. You can read up to 4 books and engage the kids in conversation about the books after.  

Get a jump start on solving the literacy challenges facing Atlanta’s youth by signing up to serve as a Talk With Me Baby @ Work facilitator. You’ll learn how to provide parents and caregivers the tools and strategies to support early brain and language development.

These are just a few ways you can start 2019 off on the right (service) foot! What other ways are you planning to give back this year? Let us know on Facebook, by commenting on this post.