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  • Writer's pictureShazia Peeran

Volunteering locally versus nationally

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Volunteering at the local level is a great way to make an impact. However, if your goal is to volunteer nationally, you should consider supplementing your local impact with some national volunteering. Here's how:

Volunteering locally can have a greater impact.

When you volunteer locally, you have the opportunity to make a more personal connection with your community. This can often result in a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfillment as well as a greater impact on those around you.

For example, if you're interested in helping people who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness, there are many local organizations that could benefit from your time and talents. You may even have family members who work at one of these organizations or know someone who does! While volunteering nationally might be fun sometimes (I mean who doesn't love seeing celebrities?), it's hard not to get attached when working closely with people right here where we live.

Additionally, because so many local nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers to operate efficiently and effectively--especially during busy times like tax season--volunteer slots tend not only be more flexible but also easier to fill than those offered by large national charities such as Feeding America (the nation's largest hunger relief organization) or Habitat for Humanity International (a global nonprofit dedicated to ending poverty housing).

Volunteering nationally can be about supplementing your local impact.

National volunteering can be a great way to meet people and make connections. It's also an excellent way to learn about new issues, different communities, and different organizations. If you're interested in doing more locally-focused work (like helping an organization with its social media presence), then national volunteering might be a nice complement to that work.

In other words: if you feel like your local impact is where it needs to be right now, then maybe national volunteering isn't necessary just yet! But if there are still things on your mind--questions about how other organizations operate or what kinds of programs they offer--then consider reaching out beyond the borders of your own city or state.

Think about where you want to make an impact and get started!

To get started, think about where you want to make an impact and start there. Do you want to help children in your local community? Or maybe there are some other causes that are close to your heart that need more volunteers?

If working with children is at the top of your list then consider volunteering at a daycare or school in need of extra hands. If animals are more up your alley then there's no shortage of shelters looking for volunteers who can help out with cleaning kennels or walking dogs during their off hours (and even during business hours if they're short-staffed).

If none of these options sound appealing then there's always options like Toys For Tots or Meals On Wheels which allow individuals from all walks of life come together as one big community!


Whether you choose to volunteer locally or nationally, the most important thing is that you get started! As we've discussed, there are many benefits to both types of volunteering. And while volunteering at home may be more convenient for you right now, don't underestimate the impact that national organizations can have on local communities--especially if they're involved in policymaking or advocacy work. So no matter where your interests lie (or how much time), there's always something that needs doing somewhere in need of help!


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