Many people have a hard time finding local volunteer events in their area to take part in. Not surprisingly, Google can be a great place to search for them, but you have to know what to look for. Let’s take a look at how to find volunteer opportunities in your area using Google.
The magic search term is “volunteer events near me.” The keyword “events” lets Google know to deliver you listings from its massive database of publicly shared events in Google Calendar. Take note: “Events” should be plural; entering “event” may return results about volunteer-related organizations or tools for organizations.
If there is a hit, you get a special Events listing box like the one below. (On mobile devices, you may need to scroll past some other general volunteer-related links to see the results, by the way.)
The distance for “near me” is subjective to Google’s algorithm but may go out as far as 100 miles if there aren’t very many listings. You’ll need to authorize Google to use your current location if it prompts you to do so.
NOTE: You can always substitute “near me” with the name of your city or neighborhood. This should sill trigger Google to look for location-based events.
Right after you get results, click on the “Search more events” link to get a bigger picture of the volunteer events available. This will take you to Google’s event-specific search engine where you can either refine or expand your search.
NOTE: Occasionally after your initial search, you may get results that look more like this image if there are few options.
If your results look like this, clicking the “See Web Results” will take you to the more typical results listing.
Regardless of what your results look like, the buttons above the results will filter the events by time-frame and other charateristics.
If you choose the “Online events” button, your event suggestions will most likely not be in your geographic area. Presumably, this is because online events are of interest to a much broader audience.
By the way, as is true in the events shown above, not all volunteer events are necessarily “hands-on” opportunities. Sometimes, the results include charity events that you can either support through donations or through participating as a registrant. Also, the individual events themselves may offer you further volunteering opportunities in their menu.
Finally, it’s important to remember that not all event listings will have the word “volunteer” in the title or description. If you’re not finding much, try more specific terms related to the type of volunteering you might be interested in doing, such as “food drive,” “river clean up,” or “mentoring opportunities.” You might also consider searching Facebook Events for volunteering opportunities.
According to Google’s Keyword Planner, roughly 100,000 to a million people search for “volunteer events near me” each month. Searches for this phrase has gone up dramatically over the years, according to Google Trends. This suggests that volunteers are having a hard time identifying volunteer opportunities that speak to them and that are local.
Helpspring is building a system to help volunteers find meaningful volunteer opportunities “near me.” If you’d like to learn more and stay informed about new developments, please join our mailing list.