Identifying service projects

The best way to get started with a local service project is to determine which category of service you want to do, and then reach out to a local non-profit or agency to plug into their volunteer projects.


Category: Education/Children

Possible opportunities

Who to contact

Tutoring young school children

Individual school offices or after-school programs

Reading to small children in library reading programs

Local libraries

Assisting with after-school sports

Individual schools or Parks & Rec Office


Category: Poverty & Hunger

Possible opportunities

Who to contact

Helping at food banks or soup kitchens

Search local food banks and soup kitchens

Helping to receive and sort donated clothes and household items

Local homeless shelters or community centers

Organizing toy or food drives

Community centers, food banks and community organizations

Helping with Family Shelter programs

Search for “homeless” and “family” shelters in your community


Category: Environment

Possible opportunities

Who to contact

Neighborhood clean up’s

Parks & Rec Office or community centers

Cleaning parks and public spaces

Parks & Rec Office or community centers

Sustainable development  

Land preserve or environmental protection organizations

Tree planting

Parks & Rec Office or community centers


Category: Animals

Possible opportunities

Who to contact

Assist in animal shelter; pet adoption campaigns

Search local animal shelters or pet advocacy agencies

Build and repair animal pens; support animal habitat

Search local animal advocacy agencies or animal husbandry programs


Category: Elderly

Possible opportunities

Who to contact

Help with community-sponsored events for the elderly

Parks & Rec Office or community centers, or search “services for the elderly” in your community

Visiting with, entertaining elderly residents

Local senior care homes and nursing homes


Planning and Managing a Service Project in 8 Steps




1.  Assess the Need

  • Why do you want to do this project?
  • What do you hope to achieve?
  • Create your anchor here by defining goals and desired outcomes.
  • Carefully write it out.
    Goal =  ______________________
    Desired Outcome = ____________

2. Check out Existing Opportunities (Research)

  • How has the need been addressed before (successfully or not so successfully)?
  • Who is already addressing the need (if anyone)?
  • You can start by Googling to gather information.
  • Then, ask people in your network and circles of friends and family.  You might be surprised at how much information the people around you can provide.
  • This is a great opportunity to make personal connections.

3. Communicate

  • Who are the points of contact for your identified organizations or groups?
  • What is the best way to establish communication with organizations, groups, or individuals?
  • Make the first contact: professional email and phone correspondence is a MUST.
  • Briefly introduce yourself and Young Dreamers (1 or 2 sentences).
  • State what you are trying to achieve (your goal).
  • Ask to talk by phone or in person (if emailing), to explore possibilities.
  • Discuss and plan details.

4. Assess Logistics

  • Appropriate number of volunteers
  • Volunteer requirements
  •  Transportation
  • Date(s) and time(s)
  • Materials needed
  • Recruiting participants
  • Specific agenda for project
  • Perceived challenges?
  • Other details?
  • Write out all project details to be sure you have your bases covered.
  •  Considering your perceived challenges (and how to overcome those challenges) ahead of time is critical for a successful project.

5.  Recruit and Organize Volunteers

  • Who do you recruit and how?
  • How do you sustain excitement and interest?
  • How do you communicate with the volunteers?
  • Your own excitement and interest goes a long way here!
  •  Communication is key to commitment and excitement from your volunteers. Send frequent messages that include:
  • reminders with logistical info
  • supporting info that helps explain the importance of the project
  • motivating messages
  • requests for volunteer input


6.  Just do it!

  • How do you plan to step into the leadership role during the project?
  • Be present.
  •  You can’t always anticipate how it will go, so be ready to be flexible.

7.  Evaluate

  • Did you reach your goals?  How do you know?
  • What would you do the same or differently next time?
  • Don’t skip this step!
  • Write it down.

8.  Follow Up

  • How do you express gratitude and thanks to all those involved?
  • How do you maintain relationships with organizations or people you encountered?
  •  Write thank you notes. They go a long way.  Really.

Project Proposal Template

Objective/s: __________________________________________________________________

Volunteer Project Details: ______________________________________________________

Volunteer Coordinator Name: ___________________________________________________

# of Volunteers Needed: ________________________________________________________

Names of Volunteers: __________________________________________________________                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Timeline for Preparation and Execution of Project:

To Do

In Charge

















































Scenarios for Discussions


You and your group of 4 other Dreamers must design, develop, and coordinate a service project to address the environment.


You have one month to coordinate and lead this project.  How do you go about doing this?






You’ve just heard from a contact at Habitat for Humanity.  Habitat for Humanity is interested in having you organize a service project for a group of Dreamers plus 20 others to participate in one of their building projects.


What steps do you take?







After volunteering at a soup kitchen, you looked around and noticed several of the people you encountered need winter clothes for the upcoming season.  You’re inspired to act and help in some way.


What do you do next?


Resource: Volunteer Project Proposal

Service Project Database

Use this to track your group’s service work throughout the year.

Organization Name

Project Description

# of total service hours

Contact Info


Save Our Shores

Beach cleanup at Hidden Beach from 9-11 AM on 11/8/19. Twelve club members showed up to pick up trash and classify the type of garbage picked up.


Susan Ramirez  

831 466-5660, ext. 3