15 Great Volunteer Opportunities to Try in Retirement

Many retired seniors often find themselves stir-crazy with the amount of free time on their hands after working forty hours per week for most of their lives. For those seeking meaningful experiences in their communities, there are countless volunteer opportunities available that appeal to a wide variety of interests. In this blog, we’ll provide possible volunteer opportunities that may inspire you to give back to your community or those in need!

15 Volunteer Opportunities You'll Love

If you're looking for ways to make a positive impact during your retirement years, here are some great volunteer opportunities to consider:

1. Public Library

Teacher reading her pupils a story at the elementary school

Most public libraries have volunteer opportunities available to bookworms who want to keep libraries up and running in today’s digital age. Libraries are frequently understaffed and need volunteers to help shelve and repair books, create bulletin board displays, read books for children’s story hours, and more.

To check for volunteer opportunities, visit your local library’s website or chat with a librarian.

2. Senior Companion

AmeriCorps offers a volunteer opportunity called Senior Companion. In this program, volunteers can assist seniors with daily activities, such as grocery shopping, gardening, cooking, and more. This program aims to help seniors maintain independence and engage in healthy social interactions. Senior Companions volunteers receive training, insurance, and an allowance to cover volunteer costs.

To volunteer as a Senior Companion, visit the Senior Companion page of the AmeriCorps website and search for local volunteer opportunities.

3. Arts and Culture

If you have a passion for creativity and self-expression, consider volunteering at museums, theaters, or cultural centers to help preserve and promote the arts in your community. You can assist with exhibits, events, or educational programs. Retirees can contribute their time and talents to support cultural enrichment and artistic endeavors. Tasks may include greeting visitors, leading guided tours, helping with event coordination, or even participating in hands-on arts and crafts workshops. Volunteering in arts and culture can help preserve and promote the arts in your community, enriching the lives of people of all ages.

To become an artistic or cultural volunteer, visit the websites of museums, theaters, educational institutions, or cultural centers in your area.

4. Political Campaign

I voted stickers

Retirees interested in politics and activism may find pleasure in volunteering for a local political campaign for a candidate they believe in to create change. Most campaigns are eager to have volunteers who can call voters, gather petition signatures, register voters, and go door-to-door in the community.

To become a volunteer on a local campaign team, visit the candidate’s campaign website to register as a volunteer.

5. Musicians on Call

Musicians on Call sends volunteer musicians to hospitals to perform for patients. This program supports the healing process by providing access to music that can improve patients’ moods and mindsets. Research shows that live music can help improve blood pressure, manage stress, and alleviate pain. Non-musicians can also volunteer as guides who escort musicians to patients’ rooms or common areas of the hospital.

To sign up as a volunteer, visit the volunteer page on the Musicians on Call website.

Also, check out What Is Music Therapy? And What Are the Benefits?

6. Meals on Wheels

Today, Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals to more than 2.4 million seniors throughout the United States. Even with two million current volunteers, Meals on Wheels is looking to increase volunteers to keep up with the rapid growth of seniors over the age of 85. Volunteers typically pick up meals at a central location and deliver them to several local seniors.

To register as a volunteer, visit the Meals on Wheels website homepage and click “sign up to volunteer.”

Learn about more meal delivery options – click here!

7. Big Brothers and Sisters of America

Becoming a mentor is a rewarding way for retirees to share their wisdom and guidance with young people to help empower the next generation to reach their full potential. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America volunteers mentor children ages five to eighteen who need a positive role model. The volunteers help children develop positive relationships, understand their full potential, and build their futures. Volunteers choose to work with community-based programs, school-based programs, children of military families, or children with incarcerated parents.

To volunteer to be a “Big” (brother or sister), visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America website and complete the online inquiry form.

Want to learn more about mentoring? Read our recent blog, Why Mentor? The Benefits of Mentoring and How to Get Started!

8. Disaster Relief

If you’re looking to make a difference in times of crisis, you can lend support to disaster relief efforts responding to natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, or wildfires. Disaster relief initiatives also assist with humanitarian crises such as refugee displacement. You can volunteer your time and skills to help those affected rebuild their lives. Tasks may include providing shelter, distributing food and supplies, assisting with cleanup and rebuilding, or offering emotional support to survivors. By volunteering in disaster relief, you can demonstrate compassion and solidarity with communities in need, making a meaningful impact during their time of greatest vulnerability.

To become a disaster relief volunteer, visit the American Red Cross website today.

Click here or the button below to download our 50+ Travel: The Why, Where, and How eBook!

9. Feed My Starving Children

Research shows that more than 6,200 children die each day from malnutrition, making hunger the leading cause of death for children under five years old. Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) is a Christian nonprofit that works with nutrition professionals to ensure that prepared meals meet basic nutritional needs to reduce worldwide malnutrition. FMSC volunteers hand-pack meals made of rice, dried vegetables, soy, and a blend of vitamins and minerals. The prepared meal bags are shipped to various locations worldwide to help children in need. FMSC has volunteer locations in Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, and Texas.

Volunteers outside these states can participate in MobilePack events listed on the FMSC website's volunteer page.

10. Retired and Senior Volunteer Program

AmeriCorps offers another volunteer opportunity called the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). This program is for volunteers over the age of 55 interested in various projects such as tutoring children, renovating homes, organizing neighborhood watch programs, and assisting natural disaster victims. To accommodate individual schedules, volunteers choose where, when, and how often they want to volunteer.

To register as an RSVP volunteer, visit the RSVP page of the AmeriCorps website and find local volunteer opportunities.

11. Humane Society

older man with pet cat

Volunteering at local animal shelters is an excellent opportunity for animal lovers seeking to care for animals, perform administrative tasks, organize fundraisers, or rescue pets. Another unique volunteer option through local humane societies is to foster animals until they are placed in a permanent home. Humane societies also have resources for retirees to have their pets certified through a pet therapy program, allowing them to visit nursing homes and long-term hospital patients.

To learn more about these volunteer opportunities, visit your local humane society’s website or speak with a staff member.

12. National Park Service

The United States National Park Service offers various individual and group volunteer opportunities that range from a one-time service to a long-term position. Volunteers will work alongside park employees for events such as beach clean-ups, trail maintenance, gardening, and more. Long-term positions may include being a gate attendant, campground host, experienced bird guide, and more.

For retired seniors looking to travel, explore nature, or help preserve wildlife, visit the Volunteer Events page on the National Park Service website.

13. Tutoring

Many schools and community organizations offer tutoring programs where volunteers can help students with academic subjects such as math, reading, or writing. Retirees with a background in education or a passion for learning can provide valuable one-on-one support to students who may be struggling or need extra help. By helping students improve their academic skills and confidence, tutors play a vital role in shaping the future success of young learners.

To become a volunteer tutor, search online for opportunities in your community or visit websites like Learn to Be or UPchieve to find virtual tutoring options.

14. Environmental Conservation

Retirees passionate about preserving the planet can find fulfillment in environmental conservation efforts such as beach clean-ups, tree planting, or habitat restoration. You can play a crucial role in protecting ecosystems and combating climate change through these opportunities. If you’re looking for an adventure outside of where you live, you can even find groups that travel domestically or internationally for environmental conservation volunteer opportunities! Engaging in hands-on work prompts a deeper connection with nature and leaves a lasting conservation legacy for future generations.

To find environmental conservation volunteer opportunities abroad, visit the Volunteer World website!

15. Community Garden

Volunteering in community gardens offers retirees a fulfilling opportunity to connect with nature and contribute to their local community. Community gardens need volunteers to perform tasks such as planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting, allowing retirees to share their gardening expertise, learn new skills, and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of working in nature. Beyond tending to the garden, volunteers may participate in educational workshops, community events, and food donation programs, making a tangible impact on local food security, environmental sustainability, and community well-being.

To become a community garden volunteer, visit your city’s (or surrounding cities’)  website for opportunities near you.

From supporting the arts to disaster relief efforts, there's a volunteer opportunity suited for every interest and skill set. Whether mentoring, caring for animals, or preserving the environment, you can make a lasting impact while staying active and engaged during your golden years.

So, where will you choose to make a difference in your retirement? Share your thoughts in the comments below and inspire others to start their own volunteer journeys today!

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