If you want to offer free labor, most nonprofit organizations and others needing help with specific projects will gladly accept you as a volunteer. If you bring professional skills to the table, you are an even more valuable asset to many projects and organizations needing volunteers. Besides the usual volunteer positions like tutoring in elementary schools or delivering meals to those who cannot leave their homes, many unusual volunteer opportunities exist, both in the United States and around the world.
Combine a vacation with digging in the dirt for artifacts of a lost civilization. Visit the website Archaeolink to find archaeology volunteer opportunities around the globe. Going on digs is not just for students. Check out the various types of volunteer posts available in a country that interests you.
Travel to the heart of the rainforest or to another remote endangered environment to do some ecological volunteering. Some of these types of volunteering opportunities last for a week or more at a time, and you can choose where you want to go and the type of work you want to do. A listing can be found on the Charity Guide website. (Not all of the opportunities are overseas, however. Check with your local nature preserve or conservation organization to find out about opportunities to volunteer right in your own backyard.
Humanitarian and Teaching
Work to help build communities around the world affected by poverty, natural disasters and other problems. Work in an orphanage, construct buildings, or teach English as a second language or another subject. Some programs are open to almost anyone who wants to teach, and others require teachers to have teaching qualifications, such as those listed by Ecoteer on its website.
Be a volunteer advocate for children. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children work to help abused and neglected children find the best home for them. They talk to people in the children’s lives to get a sense of what is best for the child. They then present their findings to a judge in court. An average case lasts a year and a half, so a long-term commitment is necessary.