Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering

As our community begins to emerge from COVID-19 restrictions, local organizations are starting to welcome volunteers for in-person opportunities again. Now is a great time to get involved in the community, but people often don’t know where to begin. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about volunteering.

Do local nonprofits have strict COVID protocols in place for volunteers?

All local organizations are considerate of the health and well-being of their volunteers. Although most mandates were lifted for the state of Pennsylvania on June 28, some nonprofits are continuing to follow stricter protocols in order to protect their clients, staff and volunteers. Others are following more relaxed policies. If you are interested in volunteering for a particular agency, they will provide you with their most up-to-date protocols.

I want to help with a specific cause, but don’t know where to start

Start by thinking about your interests; what are you passionate about? Once you’ve determined how you want to help, visit United Way’s Volunteer Portal. Our website provides over 50 opportunities that can be searched by interest. If you’re interested in volunteering with a particular agency that doesn’t have opportunities listed on our site, visit that agency’s website directly.

How can I get my children involved in volunteering opportunities?

Many agencies welcome volunteers ages 10 and up, if accompanied by a parent or other adult. Always contact the agency first to check if children are welcome to participate.

To get younger children involved in community service, you can organize a collection drive and encourage the children to donate their own personal items. This helps young children understand the impact and the importance of helping others. Kids can donate their toys, books, clothes, and even their gently used coats to local agencies. A great resource for this is our Wish List page. Nearly 40 local agencies have provided lists on our website, where you will find lists sorted by agency name and category.

I want to get involved in the community, but I don’t have a very flexible schedule

Limited schedules are often easy to work around. Try one or all of these suggestions:

  • Contact an organization and explain your situation. Agencies are grateful for assistance, and many have events and special opportunities that need volunteers.
  • Register on our Volunteer Portal to receive emails with events and activities that may not be posted online. The emails are typically monthly, with occasional emails for immediate or urgent needs.
  • Get involved with United Way’s affinity group, Emerging Leaders United (ELU). Designed for individuals ages 21-45, ELU offers a wide variety of diverse volunteer activities throughout the year and at different times of the day. To learn more about ELU, contact Shirley Chapin at Shirleyc@uwberks.org.
I want to volunteer during the holidays or summer vacation. Where do I start?

United Way’s Holiday Volunteer Guide, published in November, and Youth Summer Volunteer Guide, published in May, are great resources for finding opportunities at special times of the year. The guides provide various opportunities to partner with local United Way Agency Partners and local organizations, as well.

Collection drives are also a great opportunity to do something special for a local organization, no matter what time of year.

For assistance with volunteering, or if you have any questions, reach out to Darby Wiekrykas, United Way’s Volunteer Engagement Program Manager, at darbyw@uwberks.org or 610-685-4574.