Maybe you have some extra time on your hands, or maybe you’re just in the giving spirit. All we know is there are more than enough great causes in Boston to support with your time. Whether you’re an animal lover, an artsy type, or a healthcare enthusiast — there’s a nearby volunteer opportunity for you. Here are 35 ways to get involved in Boston.
If you’re an animal lover
- MSPCA-Angell | Become a member of the Animal Action Team to assist with advocacy and legislative affairs, or make a six-month commitment to volunteer with hospital operations.
- Animal Rescue League of Boston | The South End animal shelter is always seeking individual or group volunteers and foster parents.
- New England Aquarium | Calling all penguin lovers — volunteer duties range from feeding the animals in the giant ocean tank to taking photos at Aquarium events.
For the kids
- Boys and Girls Club of Boston | Volunteer areas at the after-school program include administrative support, child care, theater, and athletics.
- Christopher’s Haven | This organization provides programming and community space for families of children being treated for cancer at Boston hospitals.
- Cradles to Crayons | Sort donated clothing items and help package them for delivery to children in need at The Giving Factory in Newtonville.
If you want to help your neighbors in need
- The Greater Boston Food Bank | Help end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts with a food sorting shift at the local food bank.
- Haley House | The South End organization is always looking for help with the soup kitchen, food pantry, and Take Back the Kitchen cooking classes. There are occasionally opportunities in the farm and garden.
- Rosie’s Place | The first women’s shelter in the country, Rosie’s Place has flexible shifts for volunteers to lead art workshops, teach literacy classes, or prepare meals.
- Women’s Lunch Place | Help kitchen staff with food preparation, deliver meals to community partners, or help guests access resources at the welcome center of the Back Bay women’s shelter. The shelter is currently in need of book donations.
- Community Servings | After a 20-minute training, volunteers help prepare and pack meal bags for neighbors in need. Learn about the current Pie in the Sky fundraiser, aka “The World’s Greatest Bake Sale.”
- Circle of Hope | Host a collection drive or donate clothing to the Needham nonprofit.
- St. Francis House | There are volunteer opportunities in expressive art therapy and donation organizing at the shelter.
If you’re interested in healthcare
- Boston Children’s Hospital | Volunteer slots open up a few times a year for one four-hour shift per week. The next registration period begins in January 2023.
- Boston Medical Center | Help the local safety net hospital with reading to patients, stocking the food pantry, or escorting patients to appointments.
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital | Support hospital staff or assist in the research labs — most positions require weekday availability.
- Massachusetts General Hospital | Sign up for an online volunteer orientation at the top hospital in New England (according to US News & World Report).
For the outdoorsy types
- Charles River Conservancy | Approximately 2,000 volunteers help perform park maintenance along the Charles River each year. Keep an eye out for the conservancy’s 2023 volunteer events.
- Emerald Necklace Conservancy | Join the email list for invitations to volunteer programs, cleanups, and planting projects, or help keep the Emerald Necklace parks clean on your own time with a DIY cleanup kit.
- Boston Nature and Wildlife Sanctuary | Contact Mass Audubon to volunteer at the Mattapan farm stand or sanctuary center.
- Rose Kennedy Greenway | Work on horticulture projects, lead tours of The Greenway, or become a park ambassador.
- Boston Harbor Islands | Help preserve the Boston Harbor Islands on a Stewardship Saturdays trip, protecting important habitat areas and clearing invasive species. See what a typical volunteer day is like.
If you live and breathe Boston
- Fenway Green Team | This Red Sox recycling initiative started in 2008, where volunteers collect recyclables through the seventh inning for games at Fenway.
- The History Project | Volunteer to help process collections for one of the country’s largest independent LGBTQ archives.
- Friends of the Public Garden | Maintain the Boylston Street or Beacon Street borders, care for the four rose beds, or give guided tours of the Public Garden.
- Boston Bruins | Looking for sports marketing or events management experience? Fill out a registration form to help out with Bruins community events.
For the artsy types
- Fort Point Arts Center | From greeting visitors at exhibitions to database maintenance, volunteers support the center’s mission of building cultural vibrancy in Boston.
- Boston Symphony Orchestra | If you can commit to serving 20 hours annually, you can volunteer to help the local orchestra with community chamber concerts, tours, or office support.
- Society of Arts and Crafts | Volunteers are often needed to help out with the group’s CraftBoston shows.
- Boston Center for the Arts | If you love Open Studios or the Boston Art Book Fair, email the center to find out how you can get involved.
- 826 Boston | Help student writers share their stories at the Roxbury organization’s tutoring center or in the K-8 and high school writers’ rooms.
- Boston Public Library | Become an art and architecture tour guide at the Copley location or a Teen Program volunteer at various branch sites.
- Read to a Child | Ask if your company partners with this program, then apply to become a mentor and you’ll be matched with a student to read with.
If you’re interested in various opportunities
- Boston Cares | The largest volunteer agency in New England aggregates tons of volunteer opportunities, if you’re feeling a bit indecisive.
- Main Streets| Does your neighborhood have a Main Streets chapter? If so, they’ll host plenty of events to support local businesses and are always looking for helping hands.