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Give Back

Volunteering is in the DNA of Greater Des Moines (DSM) residents. The state of Iowa has a higher volunteer rate than all but nine other states at 32.5 percent, and there are about 87 nonprofits for every 10,000 residents in the state, which is the second largest share in the country.

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 about a $6.5 million value. The study covered Dallas, Guthrie, Madison, Polk, and Warren counties.

Whether it’s helping a neighbor in need or serving meals at a local shelter, there’s no shortage of ways to give back to your community. Learn more about volunteer opportunities, charities, donations and mentor programs below. 


VolunteerMatch.org is a way for people to discover meaningful volunteer opportunities. Many organizations and causes list their volunteer opportunities so that people can connect with opportunities that are important to them. The website lists opportunities by city, giving volunteers an easy way to access listings. 


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 services 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.


The 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.


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 is an effort to connect nonprofits with volunteer leaders. All nonprofits can post their volunteer leadership opportunities on LeadershipLink, and interested volunteers can search for opportunities to become involved. The region is a vibrant place with individuals and organizations dedicated to continued success. A key component to the numerous accolades Des Moines receives and the advancement achieved connects back to engaged leadership. The nonprofit community is a key player that drives the quality of life and critical support devices for all who call Des Moines home. 


BAM is a partnership between mentor programs throughout the region. Because one in three children grows up without a mentor, BAM streamlines communications of seven state-certified nonprofit organizations to raise awareness of the benefits of mentoring and mentoring opportunities. The organization’s goal is to increase the quality and quantity of mentors in Des Moines.