Beginners guide to becoming a volunteer

No one can do everything but everyone can do something

Beginners guide to becoming a volunteer

Where do I start?

Start with you. While experience may help, it isn’t necessary. What is more valuable is finding what matters to you most. Think of the subject and the age group you’d like to work with to guide your choice.

Examples may include education, the environment, homelessness, health, mentorship, etc.

Whatever the subject, age group or place, the opportunities to put your time where your heart is are many ranging from administrative duties to hands-on help.

How many hours will it require?

That’s up to you. For the most part, program coordinators seek to accommodate the needs of volunteers and hours are often flexible. Don’t assume that having fewer hours to give isn’t valuable. Any amount of time volunteers can give make a difference.

The application process

It usually starts with filling out and submitting an online form, or a phone call to speak with the volunteer coordinator. In some cases there may be an orientation meeting, in others, a few pages to read about the program and a one-on-one interview where you’ll be able to ask questions.

Some organizations might require a background check, especially when working with children, and you will be expected to fill out an application with their basic information.

It wasn’t what I was expecting

Remember, no volunteer is bound by contract and when and if you can no longer spare the time, or the role isn’t a fit, let your coordinator know. They may be able to suggest another option.

Can someone help me become a volunteer?


Fill out the submission form on our site and someone will contact you.

Local organizations who could use your help:


Become a role model and a pillar of support to at-risk kids.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Suncoast

College for Every Student


Girls Inc.

Take Stock in Children



Gocio Elementary

Reading Pals program at various locations

Sarasota and Manatee County Libraries

Sarasota Ballet of Florida Inc.; The Next Generation Program

YMCA Reads program

Early Learning Coalition

Every Child Inc.

Project Read Together


Guardian ad Litem  


Help children with special needs:

Starfish Academy at the Florida Center for Early Childhood


Easter Seals

Community Haven


Cuddler program at Sarasota Memorial Hospital


All Faiths Food Bank

High Risk Hope

Multiple programs that address a variety of areas:

Jewish Family and Children Services of the Suncoast

Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services Center

United Way Sarasota/Manatee

Salvation Army

Children First

Forty Carrots Family Center

Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County

Mothers Helping Mothers

Safe Families for Children

Tiny Hands Foundation