National Volunteer Month is dedicated to recognizing and honoring all the generous contributions volunteers make to worthy causes. Millions of nonprofits and charitable organizations rely on these volunteers who selflessly donate their time and talents.
Now it’s time to say thank you to all the volunteers who make a positive impact throughout the year. It’s also a time to encourage volunteerism to those who are able to help make a difference.
Here are 12 nonprofits who demonstrate how important the role their volunteers play in fulfilling their missions. We are truly inspired by these stories and hope you will be too!
Here are 12 nonprofits we’re spotlighting this month:
1. Warrior Canine Connection
Based in Boyds, Maryland, Warrior Canine Connection relies on volunteers to (among dozens of other tasks) train and place service dogs with military veterans recovering from physical and psychological combat trauma, traumatic brain injuries, and more.
But it’s not just those who receive service dogs whose lives are changed: For those coping with service-related trauma, fostering and raising support dogs for Warrior Canine Connection provides a renewed sense of purpose.
Just one dog that goes through their program can impact more than 60 warriors by the time she reaches her forever home.
“If we ever have an immediate need, whether it’s to fill a volunteer shift or it’s to transport puppies and dogs, last-minute calls to make bland diet, we always have such a tremendous response, it’s overwhelming.” –Jennifer Wilder, Director of Development
Impact Highlight: In 2019, volunteers for Warrior Canine Connection gave 61,449 hours to raising service dogs or pitching in any way they can.
Like when a tornado hit in February, and there was a community of volunteers ready to pick up the pieces. Together they spent 545 hours in a single afternoon getting the grounds back in shape.
How to Volunteer With Warrior Canine Connection
Interested volunteers can inquire about individual volunteer opportunities and group volunteer opportunities on the nonprofit’s website. Volunteer opportunities include puppy-sitting (and puppy-petting…seriously!), kennel help, and administrative support.
How to Donate to Warrior Canine Connection
- Donate directly on Warrior Canine Connection.
- Donate your cash back to Warrior Canine Connection when online shopping through Giving Assistant
Just $25 can buy a leash and a collar, puppy food. kennel supplies, and more.
2. Cornerstone Center for Early Learning
During National Volunteer Month in April 2020, Cornerstone Early Learning Center—a nonprofit on a mission to provide quality, affordable education to all children in the St. Louis, Missouri area—celebrated a beloved volunteer: Ms. Peggy.
According to Dani Smith, the organization’s Director of Development, Ms. Peggy’s contributions have run the gamut: she’s been involved in everything from hands-on classroom support, administrative work, soliciting donations and fundraising, and even providing snacks and meals for the nonprofit’s annual all-staff meeting.
“We have a wonderful volunteer, Ms. Peggy, who has been absolutely incredible … she is a rock star! If Volunteer Month offers any opportunity to spotlight a volunteer, we would love to spotlight Ms. Peggy.” –Dani B. Smith, Director of Development
Impact Highlight: Cornerstone Center for Early Learning runs donation drives, where citizens donate gently-used items, and Cornerstone families may come and take whatever items they may need. Ms. Peggy has “spent countless hours” collecting and organizing items for this drive.
How to Volunteer With Cornerstone Center for Early Learning
Interested volunteers in the St. Louis, MO area can find opportunities on the nonprofit’s site, including one-time opportunities like clean-ups and event support, and continuous opportunities like internships and classroom assisting.
How to Donate to Cornerstone Center for Early Learning
You can donate directly on their site, or purchase items from their wish list. While shopping (hopefully for items on their wish list!), use Giving Assistant to donate some of all of your cash back to them: even small cash back donations help Cornerstone afford dozens of essential items.
3. Community Education Partnerships
Academic achievement (much less learning) isn’t easy when you’re a kid that moves around a lot, or worse: who doesn’t have a home.
For homeless and highly-mobile students in Oakland, California, Community Education Partnerships (CEP) provides stability through tutoring services, mentorship, and even free school supplies, increasing kids’ chances for academic success, boosting confidence, and illuminating futures.
This nonprofit relies on volunteers who—among other duties—tutor students of all ages. They wrote to Giving Assistant about an outstanding volunteer named Teresa.
Every Tuesday for months, said CEP, Teresa tutored a first-grader in reading, writing, and math until the student moved away, leaving time in Teresa’s schedule open. Selflessly, Teresa kept her Tuesdays free, so that at any time, should they come back, the first-grader would be able to keep the same tutoring schedule.
“We couldn’t continue existing without the commitment of our volunteers! [They] are the heartbeat of our organization … Teresa represents many of our volunteers and their commitment to CEP’s mission in their own communities.”
Impact Highlight: Teresa was able to begin working with her student again in January 2020! Today, in the midst of California’s stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19, Teresa continues working with her student virtually and over the phone.
How to Volunteer With Community Education Partnerships
Interested volunteers can begin their journey on the nonprofit’s website: they are alway in need of tutors, but volunteers can also assist with fundraising, outreach, and administrative tasks.
How to Donate to Community Education Partnerships
You can make direct donations through their site, or purchase and donate school supplies and backpacks by using Giving Assistant. (Tip: Dozens of office supply brands like Staples, and even booksellers like Scholastic, offer cash back on Giving Assistant. Shop those brands to get school supplies, then donate the cash back you earn to Community Education Partnerships!)
4. Maine Forest & Logging Museum Inc.
Their lobster’s great—but have you seen Maine’s forests? The Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley, Maine highlights the state’s natural beauty, while preserving it through history lessons and immersive, one-of-a-kind educational experiences: visitors to their 400-acre site can experience life in a late-Colonial village, complete with water-powered sawmill and covered bridge.
And that sawmill? Fully functional, thanks to a group of retired men executive director Sherry Davis refers to as the Tuesday Crew.
From what Davis told Giving Assistant, the Tuesday Crew can (and does) fix just about anything. With about 17 volunteers thriving at an average age of 72 years young, the men in the Tuesday Crew consist of former engineers, hydrologists, surveyors, tool salesmen, large-engine mechanics, and more.
“They work on projects in unheated spaces … regardless of the cold. (One always takes the job of keeping the wood stove going.) … As director, my favorite part of the week is Tuesday lunch, to see how they are all doing and what projects they have taken on. They are really special!” –Sherry Davis, Executive Director
Impact Highlight: This volunteer team has the collective knowledge to really keep history alive: they can repair equipment from the 1800s and early-1900s! Get to know the Tuesday Crew on YouTube.
How to Volunteer With the Maine Forest and Logging Museum
Start your volunteer journey by filling the volunteer form out on the nonprofit’s website. The museum is always in need of volunteers who can help with maintenance, work with children, run the gift shop…even join their re-enactment team and pretend like it’s the 1800s!
How to Donate to the Maine Forest and Logging Museum
5. Animals Can’t Talk Rescue and Adoption Inc.
Thousands of animal shelters across the country rely on volunteers to ensure the safety and comfort of local pets—especially homeless pets.
But Naomi Gauntlett, founder of the cat-focused rescue Animals Can’t Talk Rescue and Adoption out of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, wanted to use National Volunteer Month to make it clear why her volunteers meant so much to her—especially in a time where in-person volunteering, though necessary, is risky due to coronavirus-related lockdowns.
“Even in this pandemic, most of the volunteers who come to my house where I house the cats are still coming. I have six that come during the week and on weekends in shifts. I could not run this without them.” –Naomi Gauntlett
Impact Highlight: Though as of April 2020 intakes are temporarily closed due to the pandemic, this rescue accepts all cats—not just adoptable ones. Their goal is to help as many unwanted, lost, and abused cats as they can. To date, they’ve helped over 2,400 cats and kittens find forever homes.
How to Volunteer with Animals Can’t Talk Rescue and Adoption
Volunteers are desperately needed for day-to-day maintenance, and some cat fostering. Visit their volunteer page to get their contact information and begin your inquiry.
How to Donate to Animals Can’t Talk Rescue and Adoption
The cash back you earn through Giving Assistant will be automatically donated to Animals Can’t Talk, enabling them to purchase additional supplies that can help them continue providing cats with safe, comfortable fostering conditions.
6. Hatzalah Chicago
If you’re ever in Chicago, we hope it’s because you’re enjoying a fun day at the wharf.
But if that day turns south, and you find yourself in need of emergency care, Hatzalah Chicago will be there. 24/7, 365, Hatzalah Chicago dispatches volunteer emergency service workers who save lives around the clock, “regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.”
“Volunteering is what our organization is about. Our mission here at Hatzalah is to enhance pre-hospital care, and develop a higher level of emergency preparedness … by augmenting the existing services to improve medical outcomes.” –Allie Feiger, Office Manager
Impact Highlight: This nonprofit does more than just provide ambulance services. They also participate in the community, providing free health and safety education at local schools, and encouraging others to get involved in local civic conversations that matter to them and their neighbors.
How to Volunteer With Hatzalah Chicago
Start at their volunteer page. Hatzalah needs EMS workers who are willing to commit to 2 years, as well as a handful of other volunteers who can help with things like equipment maintenance. You do not have to be a medical professional to volunteer.
How to Donate to Hatzalah Chicago
Easily make a direct donation from their donation page. You can also donate regularly by using Giving Assistant to shop, earn cash back, and donate cash back. Small cash back donations can help Hatzalah in many ways, from marketing to equipment maintenance.
7. Canine Partners of the Rockies
A new dog means an instant friend and cuddles on tap. But for those with disabilities, it can open up their world.
Canine Partners of the Rockies (CaPR) empowers Coloradans with mobility-limiting conditions to lead more gratifying lives by partnering them with highly skilled service dogs. Volunteers raise these dogs from puppyhood, lending their homes and their passion for animals to an amazing cause.
Volunteers also assist with community outreach and education through the Canine Ambassador program and scheduled group presentations. And volunteers are essential to CaPR’s fundraising efforts, like the yearly Bow Ties and Tails gala. (The dogs pitch in, too!)
“Raising and training our magnificent dogs is a joy AND a lot of work—volunteers are essential for our success.” – Shiobhan Houston, Canine Partners of the Rockies.
Impact Highlight: Volunteers go above and beyond to ensure that both human and canine have a happy, fulfilling experience, staying in touch well past placement day to offer hands-on support, encouragement, and ongoing training.
How to Volunteer with Canine Partners of the Rockies
You can contact CaPR to learn more about volunteer opportunities. They’re always in need of volunteers who are passionate and enthusiastic about CaPR’s mission, no matter what their talents or skills!
How to Donate to Canine Partners of the Rockies
You can donate directly to Canine Partners of the Rockies from their donation page. You can also donate regularly when you use Giving Assistant to shop, earn, and donate cash back. Small donations add up quickly, and could support everything from a service dog cape to a training class. CaPR is also on Amazon Smile.
8. Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin
All dogs deserve to find a loving home. Every day, volunteers make this happen at Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin (GRRoW).
By time a dog arrives at GRRow they are often broken; physically, mentally or both. Their Foster Coordinator searches for a foster home that best suits the dog. Once placed in a foster home, the work begins to bring that dog up to a GRRoW standard for adoption.
As an all-volunteer rescue, GRRoW is made up of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Joined by their love of dogs, they dedicate countless hours to giving transportation, doing home visits, and opening up their own homes to a deserving golden.
“Foster home volunteers are crucial to GRRoW’s operation. They truly are the ‘heart’ of our organization. Without them we would not exist. Without them many Goldens would lose the chance to go to a forever loving home.” –Matt Paterson, VP Operations
Impact Highlight: GGRoW’s volunteers understand that compassion for dogs shouldn’t stop at puppies. They even dedicate a section on their website to why you should open your home to an older golden!
How to Volunteer with Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin
GRRoW is still accepting applications for fostering and adoption. But you don’t need to be able to foster to help! GRRoW benefits a lot from your work on the ground and behind the scenes, for every kind of volunteer there is. You might find your place in advocacy and intake or helping put on meet & greets and fundraisers.
How to Donate to Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin
You can learn about donating to GRRoW here. There are options to donate directly through their site or by supporting their affiliate partners, like Giving Assistant. Even if it seems small, your donations make a big difference – especially now with normal fundraising efforts postponed due to Covid.
9. Pack for a Purpose
Wherever you go, leave it better than how you found it. This is the principle at the heart of Pack for a Purpose.
Their website provides community-curated lists of needed supplies, so travelers can make the trip they take go farther than the miles they travel. It uses the power of information to help individuals give what they can, directly where it most counts. And it’s entirely volunteer run!
Volunteers have donated over 12,500 hours to making Pack for a Purpose an online destination for meaningful travel. Thanks to their generosity, travelers can now Pack for a Purpose in over 60 countries. And their impact can be felt in the 364,601 pounds of supplies delivered to over 400 community projects meeting essential needs. From designing their logo to updating their website to managing social media, volunteers are the engine that runs Pack for a Purpose.
“Over the years, our volunteers have donated over 12,500 hours of their expertise and creativity to create a recognized global brand. Due to their generosity, travelers can Pack for a Purpose in over 60 countries. … From designing our logo to updating our website to managing social media, volunteers are the engine that runs Pack for a Purpose.” –Rebecca Rothney, Founder, and Rocio Antelis, Intern
Impact Highlight: Pack for a Purpose’s volunteers have ranged in age from 18 to 70+, and contribute both locally and remotely.
How to Volunteer With Pack for a Purpose
There are many ways to participate based on your unique talents, whether that’s adding essentials to your packing list or sharing their press kit. You can also apply to volunteer in a more recurring role. Even if you can’t travel yourself, your research, social media, and web maintenace skills are needed right now.
How to Donate to Pack for a Purpose
Interested donors can learn more by visting their donation page. You can also support Pack for a Purpose by shopping from their online store and affiliate pages on ebay, Giving Assistant and Amazon Smile.
10. New Life Advance International
New Life Advance International (NLAI) serves communities through volunteering and faith-based leadership.
The Stafford, TX-based ministry has founded a children’s home in Guatemala and, with the dedication and hardwork of their volunteers, have expanded into a school and medical clinic. Every year NLAI sends 12-15 teams from the U.S. to Guatemala to support their local staff and the children of New Life Children’s Home (NLCH).
Each team brings a combination of “veterans” from previous years, so that there is consistency and a growing relationship between the volunteers and the kids; and “rookies” who bring new testimonies and an expanded network to children who have very little or no family.
” … we have had these volunteers invest even more in our children. Many team members choose to be child sponsors who pray for, stay in contact with, and support financially one or more of our children. … We are deeply grateful and truly blessed by the goodness and generosity of our volunteers.” –Rob Mehner, Director of Training & Pastoral Care
Impact Highlight: Two teams in particular, the Maryland team and the Missouri team, are in charge of making summer break special for the kids of NLCH. They host fun and enriching activities (like the ever-popular “Olympic” competition) for the kids, using Biblical teachings to help them look at adversity in a new way.
How to Volunteer With New Life Advance International
Interested volunteers can learn more by visiting their page about ways to serve, including short-term, internship, and long-term or career service opportunities.
How to Donate to New Life Advance International
Interested donors can learn more by visiting their donations page. Or donate every time you shop with Giving Assistant. Your donations add up to sponsor a child, support a missionary, or fund a project.
11. Midwest Renewable Energy Association Inc.
The Midwest Renewable Energy Association Inc. (MREA) aims to respond to our evolving energy needs and empower individuals to make wise choices for themselves and the planet. Through education and demonstration, they’re making renewable energy the clear way forward for Wisconsin.
This month, MREA wants to spotlight the 300+ dedicated volunteers who make their Annual Energy Fair possible. For 30 years the fair has educated the public on green energy and sustainable living. And it’s also helped people connect with others over live music, solar-brewed beer, and local food vendors.
Volunteers truly leave their mark on the fair: Welcoming attendees, educating fairgoers about waste disposal, preparing tents for educational workshops, and even powering the Main Stage with pedal power bikes!
“We greatly appreciate our volunteers and recognize their amazing work. Many local businesses also recognize the hard work of the volunteers and donate products to help support, sustain, and appreciate them throughout The Fair weekend! … The success of The Energy Fair depends on our volunteers! Without them, The Fair just wouldn’t be possible.” –Madison Andropolis, Volunteer Coordinator
Impact Highlight: In addition to their support in putting on last year’s Fair, volunteers helped MREA spread the word about what they do by creating this video of the 30th Annual Energy Fair. Get a taste for what the next one will be like – maybe next year you’ll be behind the camera!
How to Volunteer with Midwest Renewable Energy Association
And as part of Volunteer Appreciation Week, they’re partnering with Central Rivers Farmshed to host a virtual Clean Up The Earth competition. You can participate from home by checking off tasks on this sustainable scavenger hunt.
How to Donate to Midwest Renewable Energy Association
You can donate to MREA by becoming a Member. Your Membership will directly fund amazing initiatives like Rise Up Midwest!, which was created in response to the Covid-19 recession to stimulate Main Street investment in green energy. And you can also make regular donations when you shop with Giving Assistant.
12. Caitlin’s Smiles
Cheryl Hornung founded Caitlin’s Smiles as a tribute to her daughter, Caitlin, who passed away from a brain tumor at age 7. Caitlin kept a positive attitude through her illness by finding joy in art, and she always had a backpack full of craft supplies to share with friends, family and hospital staff.
Today, Caitlin’s Smiles shares joy with children facing chronic and life threatening illnesses through gift bags filled with Caitlin’s favorite things.
Everyone who makes Caitlin’s Smiles possible, from receptionists to warehouse managers to visiting groups who assemble and distribute bags, is deeply valued and cherished. But most touching is when young people who were once hospitalized return as volunteers to give back to the program. It’s another way that the work empowers everyone involved.
“Volunteers are the story of Caitlin’s Smiles. They are everything to us. They give hundreds of hours every year to assemble our craft kits and design cards of encouragement. Many of them lead sessions for the public to do the same. … volunteers, along with our donors, are the lifeblood of Caitlin’s Smiles. They leave us with just one problem: There aren’t enough words to express our gratitude for all they have done and will do for our kids.” –Skip Wachter, Volunteers Coordinator
Impact Highlight: A supporter in California recently called to share that “A bunch of us are sitting in our office. We’ve been in a power failure for three hours. So we’ve made cards for Caitlin’s Smiles. We’re sending them to you.” This type of anonymous giving makes up many hours of the volunteering on their ledger!
How to Volunteer with Caitlin’s Smiles
Interested volunteers can visit their volunteer page for opportunities. There are options for individual, group, in-person, online, and varying commitment levels. You might find yourself assembling craft kits at a monthly craft night, sewing tote bags, or helping with their media outreach!
How to Donate to Caitlin’s Smiles
You visit their donation page to learn more. An easy way to donate is by buying items from their Amazon Wish List, which ships them directly to Caitlin’s Smiles. And you can make regular donations when you shop with Giving Assistant. Small cash back donations put items like activity books and Play-Doh right in the hands of children.
Shop to Give
Turn everyday shopping into charitable giving. Earn cash back when shopping through Giving Assistant and donate your earnings to any of the nonprofits above. It’s a simple way to make a difference from home and multiply your impact.
You can also download our browser extension, the Button, to automatically save money and support great causes while you shop.
About Giving Assistant
Giving Assistant partners with over 1.5M 501c3 nonprofits, which means you can select almost any nonprofit big or small. In addition to the wonderful nonprofits we covered here, we recommend you consider nonprofits such as The CDC Foundation, International Medical Corps, and No Kid Hungry, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. (See more recommendations here.)