Awesome — but where to start? After all, there are loads of factors to consider in following an opportunity to volunteer. Some are practical: How much time do you have? Others are more existential: What makes you come alive?
I’m willing to argue that these existential kinds of questions are the most important. The reason is that when you find the right volunteering opportunity, you’re going to make time for it. Even when you’re busy, you’ll still prioritize it because it will energize you. You’ll feel like you’re bringing your whole self to the task. When we give of ourselves in ways that also leverage our talents, we learn to give in better, sustainable, and long-term ways.
But it’s kind of like dating. You might need to try a few volunteering opportunities out at first, and what works for your best friend might not work for you. Which is why we look toward MBTI for some inspiration. Of course, there are actually seven billion personalities on Earth — not just 16 — so by no means is this canon. It’s just a place to get started!
Do any of these ideas speak to you?
ESTJ: Help organize a giant fundraising event
You love to get things done and don’t mind taking care of routine details. We suggest leveraging your organizational skills to get involved to put on an event — be it a 5K race to cure Alzheimer’s or your local parish’s annual festival. You’ll gain a lot of satisfaction as you watch your plans executed perfectly — and people enjoying their time at the event.
ISTJ: Organize a self-defense workshop
Practical and matter-of-fact, you’re the definition of the responsible citizen. You greatly value safety in your community. So what better way to make your community safe than to organize a self-defense workshop? Contact your local police station or an expert in this field and get your neighborhood organization or local parish ready to host.
ESFJ: Orchestrate meals on wheels
You want harmony and you like to be appreciated for your practical, conscientious attitude. We think you’ll enjoy getting involved with Meals on Wheels, a nationwide organization that helps deliver meals to the elderly. Whether you’re making the food or delivering it, you’ll know that your skills are literally nourishing others.
ISFJ: Volunteer at your local shelter
You strive to create a sense of order and harmony — skills that are extremely important at places like homeless centers and women’s homes (such as domestic violence shelters or pregnancy centers). Consider looking for programs that are supporting people with transitional housing, and see how you can help out.
ENTJ: Become a mentor
Leadership comes to you naturally and you derive a lot of contentment from sharing your knowledge with others. We suggest leveraging your skills as a mentor for kids who need reliable, steady figures in their lives, so you can help them think things like long-term planning and goal setting (which are probably your favorite topics). Check out organizations like Big Brothers and Sisters.
ENTP: Become a crisis counselor
You’re not good at things like “routine.” Quick and outspoken, we suggest a volunteering gig that can move with you (like, literally in your pocket), and will always provide a slightly different problem to solve. Consider volunteering for a hotline that speaks to a cause you’re behind, such as Crisis Text Line, so you can stay on your toes and interact with people.
INTJ: Record audiobooks for the greater good
You believe in humanity, but dealing with individual people can sometimes be really draining. We suggest a cause that most INTJs can get behind: literacy for all! Start recording chapters your favorite books in the public domain (which are no longer under copyright) on Librivox — and make them available for free on the internet. Bonus: this is actually a super efficient way to do one of your favorite things (read) while also giving back. And we all know that efficiency is your thing.
INTP: Become a tutor
Adaptable and analytical, you genuinely enjoy solving problems, and easily understand abstract concepts from different perspectives. Thus, we think you’d shine in areas where you can tutor people in the fields of study you enjoy. Consider becoming a tutor for adults in your local area looking for English as a Second Language or General Educational Diploma programs.
ENFJ: Train your dog to be a therapy dog
With your loyal and sociable spirit, you’re typically good with animals. If you own a dog — or have a friend or family who owns a dog — consider using your patience and intuitive skills to train it to become a therapy dog. Once trained, you can take the dog to places that desperately need morale lifted like nursing homes, cancer centers, hospices, mental health institutions, etc.
ENFP: Solve tasks for people who are blind or have low vision
You’re a verbose, descriptive person. And you do best when you have a little flexibility in your busy schedule. Consider signing up for Be My Eyes, a “free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call.” You’ll be able to volunteer whenever you can — impromptu and on your schedule.
INFJ: Become a scout leader
You’re conscientious and committed to your values — and really reliable and organized. This makes you the perfect candidate to leverage your creative, value-based spirit by becoming a scout leader. So if you have the time, consider finding a co-partner, and sign up through Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts — or even lesser-known programs such as Campfire USA or American Heritage Girls.
INFP: Connect with the elderly
You’re incredibly insightful about others and the human condition. You’ve got a knack for storytelling, and connecting others on a deep level. Consider using your skills to become a pen pal with a senior citizen. Or if you have the time (and the courage), look into seeing if your hospital has a No One Dies Alone Program — where you can offer companionship and support to patients who are nearing death.
ESTP: Coach a kids’ sports team
Energetic and fun, you enjoy each moment where you can be alive and active with others. What’s a better way to give back than to coach a kid’s sports team? The school at your local Catholic parish is always in need of coaches for kids teams. Or you can reach out in your neighborhood to see how you can give back through your city’s Parks and Rec department with your competitive, contagiously upbeat attitude.
ISTP: Get involved in Habitat For Humanity
A quiet observer, you love solving problems with practical solutions. And what’s a more practical solution than building a house for someone in need? Exercise these practical, project-based skills by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.
ESFP: Volunteer to entertain at children’s hospitals
You’re charming and fun — and good with kids (you’re practically one at heart) — so consider volunteering to entertain at your local children’s hospital. Find programs that might fit your skill set, such as Musicians On Call if you’re a musician. And if you don’t have that dramatic flair, reach out to a volunteer coordinator to play with kids before they undergo a radiation or chemotherapy treatment.
ISFP: Hold NICU babies
You’re a quiet, sensitive, kind soul — and you enjoy living in the present moment. Exercise your peaceable, calm demeanor and volunteer to hold babies who are struggling in the NICU. They’ll need your rock-solid zen nature as much as your human touch to calm them down.