In 2011, 34% of Washington residents volunteered, ranking us 9th in the country for Volunteering and Civic Engagement. Can you imagine what it would be like if 100% of residents volunteered? With just a few hours of your time each week, or even each month, you can help make our community a better place.

Here is a list of organizations, organized by cause, where you can volunteer in the Seattle area.


Hunger

  • Food Lifeline is dedicated to ending hunger in Western Washington. Last year they distributed more than 35 million pounds of food. Individual volunteer opportunities include administrative work, picking up food donations, sorting and packing food, and assisting with events. Group volunteer sessions are also available.

  • There are similar volunteer opportunities at many Seattle food banks, including University District Food Bank, Rainier Valley Food Bank, and West Seattle Food Bank. You can find more information about Seattle food banks here.

  • Another great way to make a difference is by organizing a food drive at your workplace, school, or any local business. Food banks will often provide you with all the materials you need for a successful food drive.

Animal Welfare

  • There are many different ways you can volunteer at animal shelters. You can foster pets from home, help out with events, or take on a number of duties in the shelters, such as administrative support and caring for the animals. Seattle Humane and PAWS* are both great organizations that offer plenty of volunteer opportunities.

Education

  • The Somali Community Services Coalition, a non-profit that strengthens and empowers the East African Community, hosts an after-school tutoring program to assist students in the Tukwila School District. Volunteers can participate in the Summer Adventures program or tutor students any day of the week during the school year.

  • The Seattle Public Library offers volunteer opportunities for both high school students and adults who have a passion for books. Activities may include writing book reviews, designing posters that encourage teens to read, facilitating book groups, helping out at special events, and clerical tasks.

  • Atlantic Street Center educates individuals at every stage of life, so they can flourish in the present and succeed in the future. Volunteer positions range from tutoring children in reading and math to teaching ESL and sewing to parents.

Health

  • Seattle Children’s Hospital welcomes volunteers for clerical and office support, greeting patients and visitors, playing therapeutic games with children, staffing the gift shop, and more. They begin accepting application on Wednesday, February 6th.

  • Lifelong AIDS Alliance* assists those living with or at risk of HIV, AIDS, and other chronic conditions in a number of ways, including providing meals, giving people a safe place to sleep, preventing new infections, and spreading awareness. Volunteer opportunities include food delivery, event planning, admin projects, outreach, food preparation, and more.

  • Full Life is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for frail elders and people with chronic or terminal illnesses and disabilities. They are looking for volunteers who can entertain the elderly through music, bringing in therapy pets, and more. You can also join their ElderFriends program to participate in regular one-on-one visits with isolated adults.

Environmental

  • Nature Consortium and their volunteers have planted more than 21,000 trees during volunteer work parties. Work parties take place Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10am to 2pm in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, which is the largest contiguous forest in Seattle. Learn more about volunteer work parties and how to sign up here.

  • Seattle Parks and Recreation has many volunteer projects, including cleanups at the 400 Seattle neighborhood parks and shoreline restoration that creates habitats for fish, birds, and marine mammals.

  • Adopt-A-Street is a fun way for individuals, businesses, schools, clubs, and other groups to help keep Seattle’s streets litter-free. Volunteers will receive cleanup supplies, safety equipment, and educational resources. Just BYOT (bring your own team)!

Community

  • Community Centers are always looking for volunteers, from sports coaches to event coordinators to gardening class instructors, for their wide variety of activities. Here is a complete list of Seattle’s 30 community centers and their current volunteer opportunities.

  • Friends of Youth positively impacts over 5,500 youth and young adults and their families each year. They offer overnight youth shelters, parent education, youth and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, and therapeutic foster care. Volunteer positions include administrative services, childcare, marketing and communications, event planning, and more.

Art

  • If you love photography and working with teens, Youth in Focus* is the organization for you. YIF helps disadvantaged youth develop personal voice, positive identity, and social skills through photography. Volunteer activities include mentoring and managing the darkroom, helping hang art for galleries, running the eBay store, and mentoring photography classes.

  • The Seattle Symphony has a dedicated subscriber base of more than 28,000 patrons and is a vital part of the Pacific Northwest cultural scene. Volunteers greet patrons prior to concerts, organize member events, pick guest artists up from the airport, give tours of Benaroya Hall, and more.

  • Seattle Theatre Group (also known as STG) makes diverse performing arts and education an integral part of our region’s rich cultural identity and keeps the Paramount, the Moore, and the Neptune theatres alive. Volunteer opportunities include running the front desk, researching the history of the Paramount and Moore Theatres, helping at special events such as fundraisers, conducting tours at the theatres, and developing STG’s educational program.

Housing

  • FareStart provides a community that empowers homeless and disadvantaged individuals to achieve self-sufficiency through life skills, job training, and employment in the food service industry. Current volunteer opportunities include delivering meals to shelters, food preparation, fundraising, and more.

  • ROOTS Young Adult Shelter is able to open its doors each night thanks to its volunteers who set up and clean up shelter areas, prepare and serve meals, hand out supplies, build positive relationships with guests, and more.

  • DESC provides effective and affordable solutions to homelessness, including 279 emergency shelter beds and over 600 apartments. Volunteers can help homeless men and women with their resumes, sort and organize clothing donations, lead social activity groups, and more.

*This organization is one of our Feel Good Checking partners. When you open a free Feel Good Checking account, we donate $20 to the non-profit partner of your choice.

Do you volunteer at an amazing organization that isn’t on this list? Tell us about it in the comments section below.