40 Online Community Service Ideas for High Schoolers
Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications?
See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.
- 40 Online Community Service Ideas for High Schoolers
- How Does Community Service Impact Your College Chances?
Along with strong grades and excellent test scores, many college admissions offices are also looking for students with robust resumes of extracurricular activities. An easy way to build up your portfolio of extracurriculars is with community service—but with face-to-face volunteer opportunities limited these days, you might be wondering how to find community service opportunities online.
Luckily, there are tons of great organizations looking for high schoolers with interest in performing online community service. Here are 40 opportunities to consider!
1. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is a great way for students interested in the health industry to get community service hours online. It connects volunteers with blind and low-vision people through a video app to provide visual assistance with everything from checking expiration dates to distinguishing colors to reading instructions.
From providing blood collection support to serving on the Disaster Action Team, the American Red Cross has tons of virtual volunteer opportunities available to high school students.
Sidelines is a nonprofit organization that offers support for women with high-risk pregnancies. Volunteers can offer virtual support for these women and their families.
Translators Without Borders is perfect for students who have fluency in a second language. Volunteers can perform online community service by translating texts for a variety of international organizations focused on crisis relief, health, and education. To date, the organization has translated more than 80 million words!
Tarjimly is an app that allows students to put their second-language skills to work by providing on-demand translation services for refugees, asylees, and immigrants.
Students who are proficient in more than one language can volunteer with the United Nations to translate important documents and communications for global communities.
Distributed Proofreaders has the audacious goal of creating the world’s largest digital library, and their current collection contains over 60,000 free books. This program needs volunteer proofreaders as they continue to build their library.
Bookshare focuses on making reading more accessible to people with reading barriers such as dyslexia, learning disabilities, visual impairments, and physical disabilities. With a library of more than 900,000 titles, Bookshare needs volunteers to scan in new books and proofread scanned files as they continue to improve their collection.
TED Translators is a community of volunteers who add subtitles to TED Talks, so that the inspiring ideas shared in each video can spread around the globe! Students can offer translation or transcription services in over one hundred languages.
TeensGive makes tutoring easy for students in grades 9-12. TeensGive removes the time-consuming (and often tricky) travel component of tutoring, pairing students with online tutors. They also break down barriers by targeting the communities that most need help—often underserved schools, homeless children, and former gang members trying to catch up.
11. School on Wheels
School on Wheels is another great tutoring opportunity for volunteers aged 16 to 18 living in Southern California. Volunteers work with students living in shelters, motels, vehicles, group foster homes, and on the streets and play a small role in overcoming an enormous problem—one in twenty children in California are homeless. Volunteers work digitally with students ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.
12. Learn to Be
Learn to Be is another nonprofit tutoring platform where students can volunteer their time to tutor an elementary, middle school, or high school student one-on-one with the subjects they need help with most.
13. Learning Ally
Learning Ally is a nonprofit organization that offers high-quality audiobooks and learning solutions for struggling readers from kindergarten through high school. Volunteers can use their voices to become the narrator of audiobooks to help students overcome obstacles in education.
14. Science Buddies
Science Buddies is a program where students and parents can ask volunteers questions about science questions for kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school-aged students. This is a great opportunity for high school students who love science!
Teenangels is an awesome opportunity for students ages 13 to 18 who dream of having a job in cybersecurity, or are simply interested in computers. Teenangels volunteers run programs in schools that teach teachers, parents, and kids about the responsible and safe use of the internet—they’ve even presented before Congress!
You might not have known, but Mozilla, the organization behind the popular web browser Firefox, is a nonprofit and is always looking for volunteer help. Computer-savvy high schoolers can perform online community service, helping with everything from programming to design to testing.
High schoolers with coding skills can build their portfolios, sharpen their skills, and help out the causes they care about. Donate:Code connects charities and community groups to people willing to donate their time and skills.
DemocracyLab helps connect technology projects that better society with skilled volunteers. Students with experience working with technology can volunteer with tons of tech-for-good projects to benefit various industries, including civil infrastructure, education, and the environment.
TechSoup allows high school students to share their technology tips and advice in forums. The nonprofit sector uses this information to implement technology more effectively within their companies to have a greater reach in their communities.
Students with interest in history can volunteer with Citizen Archivist to help the National Archives preserve and share the public records detailing the story of our nation and its people. Volunteers are needed to transcribe, tag, and add comments to make them more accessible and searchable.
21. Citizen Scholar
Citizen Scholar is an interesting online community service opportunity for history buffs who would like to work with the Smithsonian Institute, the world’s largest museum and research complex. This organization assists in the transcription of historic documents and papers of prominent Americans, along with records from the Smithsonian’s scientific collection to make them more accessible to researchers and the public.
22. By The People
By the People is a virtual volunteer opportunity where volunteers can help transcribe important documents belonging to the Library of Congress. Students can create and review transcriptions to help people search for, access, and find these historical documents.
Ancestry.com works with volunteers to index stories and history that would otherwise be lost. High school students who are passionate about genealogy can volunteer to help others discover their personal history.
24. Amnesty Decoders
Amnesty Decoders provides a platform for volunteers to perform online community service by using their computers and phones to comb through pictures, documents, and other information to expose human rights projects. Projects include everything from finding tweets abusive to women to locating vulnerable villages in Darfur.
25. Missing Maps
Missing Maps is a collaborative project to create maps for unmapped communities of the world who are likely to suffer from disasters and crises. Volunteers can trace satellite imagery, add neighborhoods and street names, and more to help humanitarian teams and first responders reach these communities.
Humanitarian Data Exchange is an organization that organizes humanitarian data in one place. Virtual volunteers can add this information to a database to be easily accessed by those who need it.
Nabuur offers virtual volunteer opportunities for high school students by linking them to villages in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Together, they collaborate and share ideas to solve local issues.
The Crisis Text Hotline is a confidential intervention hotline that handles texts from people struggling with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, suicide, or self-harm. Volunteers must complete 30 hours of virtual crisis management training before starting in this position.
Do you have humanitarian or social causes you strongly believe in? Start a petition on Change.org to build support for your cause and change the world!
The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated the Rape, Assult & Incest National Network (RAINN) looks for online volunteers who are at least 18 years old, are willing to complete a training course, and who can commit to online shifts.
Nursing home residents are struggling with their emotional and mental health, as they can no longer receive visitors. A solution from the Texas Health Care Association, Adopt a Nursing Home, connects volunteers with residents (and staff) and provides the ability to send online messages and physical letters to help keep spirits high.
Another opportunity for high schoolers interested in supporting the elderly, Lifetime Connections Without Walls provides seniors with a wide range of classes and activities they can participate in from the comfort of their homes. Log online community service hours assisting with everything from facilitating sessions to reminding participants about them.
Put your pen to work, flex your writing skills, and show your support for first responders, troops, and veterans. Operation Gratitude collects thank-you letters from “regular” people and sends them to those serving our country.
The Trevor Project is a program for students over age 18 who want to provide a safe online space for LGBTQ youth, ages 13 to 24. Volunteers from all backgrounds are welcome. Program members have improved the well-being of thousands of young people since the project’s founding in 1998.
35. Best Buddies
Best Buddies is dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They’re looking for volunteers for their e-Buddies program—a commitment to email at least once every two weeks. Participants are matched to a buddy based on interest, games, and location (people living in the same state aren’t matched), making this a great way to make a new friend, make a person feel more included, and volunteer.
36. Girls Inc.
Even students with only limited time can carve out time to volunteer for Girls Inc.—just five minutes a week. As a social media ambassador, you can help amplify the organization’s message by creating and sharing social posts focused on teaching girls how to navigate economic and social barriers and helping them grow up healthy, educated, and independent.
37. Humane Society
While many animal lovers would love to volunteer at their local shelter or foster an animal, it’s not always feasible. Luckily, there are still ways to give back, one of which is volunteering for the Humane Society’s phone bank. In this position, students over the age of 16 will place phone calls to support the organization’s legislative priorities and ballot initiatives.
38. Sierra Club
The Sierra Club empowers teens and young adults to fight for environmental justice issues. You can volunteer and take action by joining one (or more!) of the campaigns listed on their website.
39. Hire Heroes USA
Hire Heroes USA helps veterans find job opportunities. Virtual volunteers can assist with interviews, career counseling, and guiding people with the application process.
Do you have a unique skill? Vollie is an online platform that matches skilled volunteers to nonprofits and charities, like Habitat for Humanity and Cancer Council, that need help in a particular area of expertise.
How Does Community Service Impact Your College Chances?
Many students think that you need to volunteer for certain types of organizations or have tons of community service hours to be accepted to college, but that’s simply not true. Colleges are more concerned about your participation in community service activities that you’re passionate about and can show tangible success or results from.
College admissions committees typically evaluate your extracurriculars using four tiers:
Tier 1: Nationally recognized achievements and recognition, such as getting ranked as the #3 tennis player in the country.
Tier 2: State-recognized leadership positions or achievements, like making all-state for sports or music.
Tier 3: Schoolwide leadership positions or regional recognition, like being the treasurer for your student body.
Tier 4: General participation in clubs, sports, or volunteer opportunities.
While all the tiers are important, students who have at least a couple Tier 1 and Tier 2 extracurricular activities will have higher odds of acceptance than students without accomplishments in these categories. Many volunteer opportunities are purely participatory activities, so they would be Tier 4, though you can increase their impressiveness and tier by taking on leadership roles or starting your own initiatives. Tier 4 activities are also still valuable for showing admissions officers where your passions lie.
If you’re curious how your extracurricular activities and community service affect your college admissions chances, utilize CollegeVine’s free chancing engine tool. We use your grades, test scores, background, and extracurricular activities to predict your odds of acceptance at over 600 colleges and universities!