50 Creative Community Service Ideas for Nonprofits and Individuals

You have a heart to serve others, but you may not be sure where to get started. How can you do the most good for your community? If this question has you stumped, we have 50 creating community service ideas to inspire you to act! Read on to find the perfect opportunity to give back.

9 minutes read
50 Creative Community Service Ideas for Nonprofits and Individuals

Over 1 billion people volunteer in community service projects around the world. Community service is an important way to pour back into the place where you live, people who have made an impact on you, or neighbors who happen to need a helping hand.

People are eager to give back to the community. All they require is the right opportunity. When done in some fun and effective ways, community service can engage people and make them come back to it again and again.

As a nonprofit or an individual who wants to help the community, it’s your job. You should always have ideas for how to incorporate community service into team building or inspiring service ideas for which you can provide volunteer opportunities.

There are so many ways to help, and it can be overwhelming. Where do you start?… Why not try these 50 creative community service and project ideas?

Determine the what, when, and who

Before you ever start community service, you need to ask yourself a few questions and consider some facts.

1. What are you most passionate about?

  • Is there a local organization that shares your values? Maybe that makes it a good fit.
  • Do you like serving animals, older people, children, or a mix? This will narrow your search!
  • As you go through your day, what gets you fired up? What local or societal issues compel you to change, learn, and grow? Find an organization that is doing work that you think about often.

2. When is a good time for you to serve?

  • Are you only available in the evenings, in the mornings, or at any time? This will definitely limit your options, depending on your answer.
  • Some nonprofits are 24/7, but some operate in a normal nine-to-five schedule. Take this into consideration!

3. Who will you serve with?

  • Is this a team-building exercise for your work?
  • Are you serving with your church?
  • Which other organizations are the most aligned with the cause you’re passionate about?
  • You and other volunteers will all need to meet and agree on the organizations that you want to serve with.

Once you have gone through the above facts and answered the questions, it will be much easier to determine what community service project is right for you and/or your team!

50 Community Service & Project Ideas for Nonprofits and Individuals

For your ease of understanding, we have divided the 50 community service project ideas into separate sections/categories. Each section tells you what the primary objective of the ideas is and how the different ideas can help you serve your community effectively.

Host a donation drive

Donation drives are an easy way to collect items that you, partners in the community, or people in the community, need. Typically, you come up with a very specific ask. So, if your organization or a local food bank in the community needs silverware for your shelter, come up with exactly how much silverware you need, determine EXACTLY how and who this will help, and then spread the word.

For example, you might determine you need 20 sets of silverware, and that you will give this to 10 people from your shelter who are getting rehoused soon. Spread this ask on social media, and give a very specific drop-off location and the date you need it by.

10 ideas for community donation drives

1. Host a school supplies drive for kids in need in your community before school is back in session.

2. Start a local food bank or host a perishable food drive for the hungry. You can also collect donations and give out grocery coupons to needy families in the community.

3. Around the holidays, host a donation drive for toys, decorations, or other items to make the holidays special for families in your community.

4. Host a donation drive for GED books to donate to a high school completion study group.

5. Ask corporate organizations in your area to partner with you to host a professional clothing drive to donate to people in need for job interviews.

6. Around Valentine’s Day, host a drive for stuffed animals to donate to kids in the community who could use a loving gesture.

7. If there is a large homeless population in your area, host a donation drive to create hygiene bags or a coat drive during winter to hand out to homeless shelters.

8. Host a donation drive to help local hospitals have access to needed supplies, asking people to scour local stores to find masks, sanitizer, and other necessities.

9. Are you passionate about helping animals? Host a donation drive to help supply food and toys to a local animal shelter.

10. Domestic and sexual violence shelters often need feminine hygiene products, other hygiene products, pillows, towels, and other basic items. Host a donation drive to help meet these needs.

Pro tip: Ask people to drop items off at a specific location, and create an Amazon wish list or a Walmart wish list so people can ship items you need directly to you. You can add the required items to these wish lists and inform people about them. But if getting specific items from people becomes difficult, consider creating an online donation campaign. There you raise money and buy exactly what you need for the lives in need.

Example: We love how Hope Active used Donorbox to raise funds to purchase Christmas presents for families in need.

Organization using Donorbox to raise funds for a community service project.

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Do physical labor for people in the community

It’s no secret that manual labor is not right for everyone, and that’s okay! However, there are some unique benefits to manual labor, such as reducing stress and having a tangible measure of the impact of your work. Some people in your community are not physically able to help themselves or complete necessary chores.

Also, some organizations have so little manpower and don’t have a strong volunteer base, and they need extra help. You’d always find volunteer opportunities with these organizations. Whatever your reason, helping them with physical labor can be effective and helpful.

15 community service ideas that involve physical labor

11. Mow an elderly person’s lawn.

12. If local community centers or other important buildings have been tarnished by graffiti, cover up the graffiti with a fresh coat of paint.

13. Organize a car wash and ask for donations to give to a charity, killing two birds with one stone!

14. Offer free child care for refugee families who are taking language classes or going to job interviews.

15. Help out at a community parade, create a float, or organize the event.

16. If there is a local issue or political candidate you are particularly passionate about, canvas for them!

17. Spend a day working in your community garden or the local animal shelter.

18. If your church is going through an expansion, offer to help with gardening, arranging new furniture, or something else that they need.

19. Volunteer at a thrift store and help sort donations.

20. If there are kids who are experiencing bullying at school, offer to walk home with them a few days a week.

21. Organize books at a library.

22. Help organize a community event and run a table for the nonprofit you are working with.

23. Start a community service project to drive meals to people who cannot cook for themselves.

24. Help clean up a park, river, or ocean, depending on where you live.

25. Knit scarves, socks, and blankets for a local homeless shelter!

Pro tip: Make a list of needed supplies. Ask the organization you are working with, or the individual, if they have all the items on your list. If they do not, create an online campaign for the items so you and your team do not have to pay for them.

Example: Run Far Foundation used Donorbox to raise over $140,000 to fund youth-led community service projects around the U.S. They fund a variety of projects designed to help young people improve their communities and gain valuable skills.

An organization using Donorbox to fundraise for community service projects.

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Donate your skills

Let’s face it, nonprofits are running on limited budgets and have limited resources. There are some luxuries nonprofits or community organizations simply cannot afford. In 2022, the average value of each volunteer hour hit just short of $32. That’s a huge benefit to nonprofits!

If you have a special skill set, consider using it to help an organization you are passionate about at one of their fundraising events, or donate your skill and teach people the organization serves about your skill. Host monthly, quarterly, or annual classes. Or it can be as simple or involved as you like using one or a few of these ideas!

10 community service ideas offering skilled volunteer opportunities

26. Are you a videographer or photographer? Use these skills to document your favorite nonprofit’s signature fundraising event.

27. If you are an artist, consider teaching painting or drawing at a shelter or a nursing home.

28. Are you a self-defense instructor? Donate this skill to a local domestic violence center.

29. If you sing or play an instrument, consider entertaining some residents at a nursing home.

30. Make quilts or other special gifts for children who are in a hospital or long-term care.

31. Write thank you cards to people who are serving in the military.

32. If you can build furniture or something simpler like birdhouses, consider donating this skill to help furnish a local shelter, or bring joy to someone living in a nursing home.

33. Do you like organizing events? Reach out to local community organizers and see how they could use your skills.

34. If you are on a local sports team, dedicate one of your home matches to a nonprofit. Invite people who benefit from the organization as your guests. Also, consider donating some of the profits from the game to the nonprofit.

35. Speaking of sports, consider refereeing community sporting events, especially events for kids!

Example: Skillmation Community Connections is a volunteer-based organization that helps build a bridge between people with specific skills and those in need of them within the community. They created a donation page to support the education services of needy students in the community. As you can see in the image below, each of the suggested amounts in their donation form has the possible impact written below it. This can be a great way to fund the supplies you need to teach your skills or to help create something (an item or event) with your skills.

community service examples

Start crowdfunding for special community service projects

Anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and family reunions. There are a plethora of family gatherings or important occurrences in your life that you could use to benefit the community. Crowdfunding is when you reach out to family, friends, acquaintances, or other people in your network to ask for donations.

With the right tool, your crowdfunding campaign can be incredibly successful. Tap into your Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn following to spread the word!

10 community service project ideas to implement with a crowdfunding campaign

36. Raise money on your birthday for a local nonprofit.

37. If you have a marriage or relationship anniversary coming up, ask people to contribute to your favorite nonprofit. Is it your 30th anniversary? Ask for $300. Your 10th? Ask for $100.

38. Do you have a special religious or historical observation coming up? Christmas, Juneteenth, or International Women’s Day could be great days to raise funds with a crowdfunding campaign for your nonprofit!

39. If you’re coming up on the anniversary of the loss of someone, ask people to donate in their honor to your nonprofit of choice.

40. Keep in mind your nonprofit’s special anniversaries. For example, if it is the nonprofit’s 30th anniversary, crowdfund on that day.

41. Are you getting married? Start a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a cause instead of asking for traditional gifts.

42. If there was a day in your life that you needed the nonprofit you are crowdfunding for, crowdfund on that day. For example, the day you heard you were in remission.

43. When the nonprofit you are donating to has a special event, ask people to donate to that event in your honor.

44. Should a crisis arise, such as a natural disaster or unexpected lack of funding, raise money with a crowdfunding campaign.

45. Lastly, if there is a day within a particular movement that you are passionate about, crowdfund on that day. For example, you can crowdfund on Arbor Day.

Pro tip: For your crowdfunding campaign, set a specific goal, and talk about what inspires you to support a nonprofit or this particular cause. If possible, you can share some pictures of you working with the nonprofit in the past. This helps increase the interest and trust of your followers and friends. Check out Donorbox’s crowdfunding feature, which helps hundreds of organizations raise money quickly with a powerful crowdfunding campaign.

Example: The Lisbon Project created a crowdfunding page that shows their mission in action! They fundraise to support their service projects that help refugees and immigrants climate to their new surroundings.

Organization using Donorbox to fundraise for their community service project.

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Host an event for the community

If none of the other options for a community service project sound interesting or involved enough for you, consider going the extra mile and hosting your own event. Hosting an event provides some fun, an outlet for you to see friends, and a chance to give back. Sounds like a win, win, win!

5 community service project ideas for an event

46. Host a bake sale.

47. Host a breakfast at your house and ask your friends to donate all the money they would normally spend on coffee every week to your nonprofit of choice instead.

48. Host a book club and collect donations at every meeting.

49. Run a fashion show.

50. Host a trade swap party but have guests bring multiple items and stockpile items to give to charity.

With Donorbox Events, you can easily create an online event page. There you can have unlimited ticket tiers and even calculate the tax deductible amount of each level. Your purchasers will automatically receive their tickets and receipts. You can manage the sold tickets and purchasers’ details at the backend. You can also ask for additional donations on top of ticket sales!

Example: The below event page is created using Donorbox Events and it encourages people to join their book club. With this page, they are selling tickets to their upcoming book reading sessions. You can host a similar book club event within the community to encourage kids or adults or maybe both through different book reading sessions.

Dive deeper

Whether you’re working with or for a nonprofit, or simply want to do something for the community to give back, these 50 creative community service ideas can spark your creativity.  If these community service project ideas have inspired you, get out there and serve your community!

Check out the rest of our Nonprofit Blog for some useful tips and resources on nonprofit management.

If you need extra support fundraising for your important cause, Donorbox is here to help you help others! Some of the best Donorbox features include recurring donations, customizable donation pages, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, text-to-give, QuickDonate™, donor management, and more. Our peer-to-peer fundraising feature can significantly boost donations to your community service project. You can gather and invite supporters to help you raise more funds and the nonprofit create a bigger difference.

If you’re a nonprofit and looking to boost your impact on the community through more funds and supporters, check out Donorbox Premium. You get to choose from awesome perks like expert coaching, a dedicated account manager for your nonprofit, high-powered add-ons to boost fundraising, and a team of techies to help you along the way. Pricing is personalized for each nonprofit. Get in touch with our sales team now!

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