Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity for Seniors

Thinking of volunteering? Ask yourself these 6 key questions before you start to ensure the most fulfilling experience.
Happy volunteer grandmother smiling at camera in a park

Many seniors love volunteering. It’s a great way to connect with people, stay mentally and physically active, and contribute positively to your community.

If you’re considering volunteering, this Senior Assistance Club guide can help in choosing the right volunteer opportunities for seniors.

How to Find Right Volunteer Opportunity for Seniors

1. What Cause Lights Your Heart?

Seniors working has become more and more common. Before deciding to go back into the workforce, you may want to consider volunteering instead.

There are so many organizations looking for volunteers that you won’t have any trouble finding one to serve.

If you’re thinking about service, start from the inside out. What cause makes your heart sparkle and light up? Perhaps it is anything with children. Maybe you love helping people in physical or emotional need. You might be a lover of nature, parks, forests, and oceans. If you have a love of animals, there are many shelters that need help.

For many people, these causes are already well known. You may have already been active in other ways—such as subscribing to a magazine, contributing to a cause, or attending fundraisers.

Think about your life so far. What causes have attracted your attention? What causes have you actively supported? What celebrities, friends, and family do you admire for their work in a certain cause?

Each of these investigations will make a decision that lines up with your personal passion.

Group of senior female volunteers picking up trash on the beach

2. What Local Cause Matters Most?

In many communities, the concept of micro volunteering is taking root. This is a way to help people around your community with tasks and work. This is a way to be of service, do good, and make a difference close to home.

It’s a way to make volunteering easy, simple, and local. If you’d like to explore this, check out nonprofits in your area. At organizations such as you can get inspired. If you’re looking for meaning and purpose, volunteering for a local cause is a great place to start.

3. What Skills Make You Shine?

You’ve learned and used many skills in your life. Some, you may want to do more of. Others, well…you may never want to do those again. Only you know for sure which one is which.

When finding the right volunteer opportunities for seniors, try asking yourself these questions:

  • Are you a lightening fast typist…but never want anyone to know?
  • Are you a natural in the kitchen…and love anything related to baking?
  • Are you at home in a garden, and want to share your green thumb skills?
  • Are you fluent in two languages…and love teaching others?
  • Whether you have earned money or not for your great skills, now you can go to town. Make a list of what you love doing and want to do more of.

This is the list of skills to focus on. With these in hand, you can offer your volunteer services to the cause that you care about most.

4. Who Do You Want To Be Around?

Volunteering is rewarding and fun. If you have a good friend, neighbor, or family member to share the experience with, you all benefit. For many people, spending time volunteering with a friend just doubles the delight.

If you have a friend or acquaintance that might be interested, pop the question. They may or may not be up for it. However, if you don’t ask, you won’t find out. Of course, no one likes to be pressured. Keep it light and explore options for volunteering together. If it seems to be easy, go forward. If you encounter resistance, go out and make new friends.

Many volunteers find that their work expands their social circle. You naturally find opportunities to work together, play together, and share interests beyond the volunteer organization. For many seniors, this is a great way to expand your social network. You’ll meet active people, interact across generations, and share the rewards of doing good work.

A group of happy senior citizens enjoying spending time together

5. How Can You Contribute and Keep Learning?

Volunteering is great for the organization, and it can be equally great for life-long learning. You may have an interest in learning languages, technology, practical skills, or business skills.

Many volunteer organizations need administrative help. If you love detail, you could be just the natural organizer they need. Many volunteers find that they arrive, hat in hand, ready to help. They may have imagined doing something hands-on, but upon arrival, they realize other talents are needed. You could be the person to whip that office into shape, organize a funding drive, or market a new project.

Along the way, you could find that your skills need some sprucing up. You might get inspired to take a class on non-profit marketing, technology skills, or business management. The great thing about working for a volunteer organization is you can start where you are, build your skills, and keep learning.

This is a wonderful way to find meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. You’re giving back to the causes and communities you care about. At the same time, you are staying fit, active, and social in ways that you might only have dreamed about.

6. How Can You Help From Home?

It’s possible to volunteer—even if you are experiencing mobility issues. If you can’t leave your home, you can still find ways to help.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind? People need help. You can do something from wherever you are living.

Many organizations are looking for help with phone campaigns, donation drives, and fundraising activities. You often can connect with community agencies that are looking for phone volunteers. Clearly, you can use your phone from wherever you are located.

Additionally, many organizations do donation drives. These groups often need volunteers to reach out to potential donors, organize events, or schedule other groups of volunteers. If you’ve got a knack for getting things ship-shape, you could add tremendous value.

Finally, you may find ways to volunteer with organizations such as: Volunteer Match. This nonprofit connects people to charities that need volunteers. You could have a blast doing some good. Imagine: knitting blankets for people in need, knitting scarves for orphans, getting petitions signed, or enrolling volunteers in email campaigns. You can also check out ways to volunteer virtually.

If you’re looking for ways to volunteer, you can find great opportunities. As the saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Tips for Seniors on Choosing the Right Volunteer Opportunities

As we age, it's only natural to want to give back to the community that has given us so much. Seniors have a lifetime of experience and knowledge to offer, and there are countless organizations that would love to take advantage of all that valuable expertise. Volunteering can also be a great recreational activity for seniors!

Here are five great volunteer opportunities for seniors that make a difference.

1. Meals on Wheels

As we age, many everyday tasks can become more challenging. Unfortunately, this includes preparing meals. That's where Meals on Wheels comes in.

This popular volunteer opportunity offers seniors the chance to give back to their communities and socialize with homebound individuals. By delivering hot meals, volunteers not only provide important nutrition, but also a valuable check-in for isolated seniors. Plus, with programs located in most communities, it's easy to find a local opportunity near you.

Meals on Wheels is always looking for dedicated volunteers to join their team and make a difference in the lives of seniors in need. If you're interested in volunteering and making connections within your community, consider signing up for this fulfilling opportunity!

2. Hospital or nursing home visitations

Volunteering at a hospital or nursing home can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience for seniors. Visiting with patients and providing companionship can brighten their day and bring joy to both parties. As a volunteer, you can to decide how to best engage with patients - whether it be through reading, playing games, or simply engaging in conversation. It's also a great chance to make new friends and form meaningful connections.

If you are someone who enjoys spending time with people, consider volunteering at a hospital or nursing home. Your presence can truly make a difference in someone's day and bring happiness to those who may not have regular visitors.

3. Help out at a food bank or soup kitchen

Are you looking for a way to give back to your community in a hands-on, physically active way? Consider volunteering at a local food bank or soup kitchen. These organizations rely on volunteer support to sort and distribute donations, as well as serve meals to those in need. It can be physically demanding work, but the satisfaction of knowing you are making a difference in your community is immeasurable. And who knows - you might even make some new friends along the way!

So why not consider giving your time and energy to those in need at your local food bank or soup kitchen? Your efforts will surely be appreciated and can have a lasting impact on your community.

4. Tutor students after school

If you love working with kids and have a passion for knowledge, becoming a tutor in an after-school program could be the perfect fit for you. Many schools rely on volunteers to help their students with homework or strengthen their skills in certain subject areas. This is a fantastic opportunity to share your expertise and make a positive impact on young lives.

And don't worry if you think you may not have enough experience or education - schools typically offer training courses and resources for tutors, so all it takes is a willingness to learn and a desire to help. Plus, the experience can be incredibly rewarding for both the students and you.

5. Foster animals waiting for adoption

Do you love animals? If so, then consider volunteering at your local animal shelter! There are always animals in need of foster families, and this is a great way to provide them with love and attention while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes. Fostering animals is also a great way to get some furry companionship without the long-term commitment of adoption.

Assistance Club Summary

The #1 big idea: follow your passion, use your skills, enjoy yourself, and volunteer. Along the way, you’ll be of service, meet great people, keep learning, and reap the rewards of your generous giving.

We hope this Senior Assistance Club guide has helped you when it comes to finding the right volunteering opportunities and how to include it in your retirement planning.

For more tips on job opportunities for seniors, check out our other guides online!