If you live in a big city like Los Angeles, New York or Chicago, just plug in your zip code and you're likely to get more than 1,000 listings of where you can help. The site has proven popular; it's referred more than 100,000 volunteers across the nation to organizations that could use their help [source: Volunteer 211].
For volunteers, VolunteerMatch's best feature is its search page, where users can find openings at particular organizations as well as find opportunities specifically for kids, teenagers, families and groups. From setting up tables for a fundraising marathon to designing Web sites for social services groups, you'll discover scores of places that may need your special talents.
And if you need work that's closer -- well, actually in your home -- VolunteerMatch also has a section where you can search for "virtual" volunteer opportunities -- work such as data entry, writing and designing brochures that you can do at home on your computer [source: VolunteerMatch].
When you do a search on the site, the listings are presented with the newest postings first. But by using the dropdown menu at the top of the form, you can re-sort the list by distance from your home, duration of service or date. You can also set up an e-mail alert to notify you when a listing matching your interests is posted to the site, upload your volunteer resume, invite other people to volunteer with you and sign up for VolunteerMatch's monthly newsletter.
Once you find a listing that interests you, simply click on "I Like This Volunteer Opportunity" and complete the required form. When you're done, an e-mail is sent to the organization signifying your interest. The organization should contact you after getting the referral.
The site also provides a resource center for volunteers with tips on how to make the most of charity work and how to choose the right organization as well as webinars on those topics.
To learn more, visit the links on the next page.