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Give Back: How to Find Volunteer Opportunities in Your Community

Volunteering is in the DNA of Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents. In 2020, 47.1% of Iowans volunteered regularly and Iowa's volunteer rate ranks as 4th in the nation. According to Americans for the Arts reports, 7,590 volunteers donated a combined 277,664 hours in the region in 2015. This donation of time represents a value of approximately $6.5 million. The study covered Dallas, Guthrie, Madison, Polk and Warren counties.

How can I find ways to volunteer in my community?

DSM is a vibrant place full of individuals and organizations dedicated to service and community improvement. DSM consistently receives awards and accolades, and those achievements connect back to involved and engaged individuals and community leaders. The DSM nonprofit community is diverse and effective, providing services and support for all who call the region home. Here are some tools for getting involved with volunteer projects at local nonprofits in DSM:

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The World Food & Music Festival presented by Veridian Credit Union would not be able to provide the high level of cultural and food programming that is offered at the three-day event without volunteers. With a variety of different opportunities to choose from, you can volunteer by yourself or with a group of foodie friends. Whatever you choose, there is a spot for you. You will receive a free Festival T-shirt to wear during your shift(s) and food tickets to use at The Festival.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market is a staple in the Historic Court District. Each year, the Downtown Farmers’ Market counts on the help of volunteers to sustain the development of The Market. Help The Market team with setup, tear down and general market support. There is also the opportunity to help with the Meals from the Market program onsite each week by raising awareness, inviting vendors to donate unsold products and collect donated produce.

Volunteer Iowa

Volunteer Iowa’s goal is to improve lives, strengthen communities and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. The agency is part of a network of state service commissions that exist to foster a bi-partisan, state-level commitment to advancing service initiatives as well as developing, communicating and promoting a statewide vision and ethic of service. People who want to volunteer with a state agency can get involved with Volunteer Iowa’s volunteer program or with its AmeriCorps VISTA project.


VolunteerMatch.org is a way for people to discover meaningful volunteer opportunities in their area. Many nonprofit organizations and causes share volunteer opportunities so people can find and connect with service projects that are important to them. VolunteerMatch lists volunteer opportunities by city, giving volunteers an easy way to access listings. Sign up to find volunteer opportunities in DSM.

United Way of Central Iowa

United Way of Central Iowa brings together local nonprofits, businesses, elected officials and community leaders to collaborate and implement solutions to some of the region's challenges. The United Way counts on volunteers, advocacy and donations to pursue their missions.

Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines provides charitable giving, connects donors with causes they care about and provides leadership for important community issues. The organization initiates change throughout the area and counts on people to help.


LeadershipLink connects nonprofits with volunteer leaders. All nonprofits can post their volunteer leadership opportunities on LeadershipLink, and interested volunteers can search for opportunities to become involved.

What are some volunteer opportunities to support youth in DSM?


Iowa MENTOR is a partnership between mentor programs throughout the region. One in three children grows up without a mentor, so Iowa MENTOR is trying to make it easier to connect volunteer mentors with at-risk youth. Iowa MENTOR’s mission is to promote, support, and build quality mentoring relationships by elevating the capacity of programs, systems, and policies that foster proven results for Iowa.

What are some nonprofits in Greater Des Moines?

There are hundreds of charitable organizations and nonprofits in DSM. Browse our directory or narrow your search for categories like youth organizations, fundraising and foundations.

If you want to get involved with volunteering at nonprofits in DSM, why wait? Use one of the tools above to find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you, or search for local organizations and nonprofits on your own. Here are some more ideas for places to volunteer: