The most challenging part of volunteering is deciding where you should go and what you should do, as the qualifications are easy to meet for many service opportunities, and the opportunities themselves are literally endless. Through the Points of Light Institute (PLI) alone, there are hundreds upon thousands of ways you can help fight poverty in your community.
In fact, many of the programs sponsored by the PLI have federal funding, which allows them to reach a broad spectrum of people in cities all over the United States. For volunteers, this national presence makes finding a service opportunity that much easier. There are hundreds of action centers run by the HandsOn Network that you can join, or to see a list of programs run by the PLI click here.
You can also narrow your search by location. To find a volunteer center near you, visit the institute's Web site where you can search for centers according to the state or zip code they are located in [source: Points of Light].
And if you can't find anything you like there, try searching the national site sponsored by the Points of Light Institute, 1-800-Volunteer.org, where you can create a personal account and become a listed volunteer. On 1-800-Volunteer.org, you can search for service opportunities based on the skills listed in your profile, sign up for opportunities you like and receive e-mails updates about new opportunities. And a service-hour log connected to your profile may come in handy for students who need to track their volunteering time for course credit [sources: 1-800-Volunteer, Points of Light].
If you want to know more about how you can become a part of this growing nonprofit network, see the next page for links to more information.