via Austin Pets Alive!

7 of the Best Places to Volunteer in Austin

By Megan Menchaca

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With every new semester comes a chance to get more involved, and what better way to do that than volunteering at a local Austin nonprofit? In such a big city, there are so many opportunities to give back and make the world a better place, even as a young college student with small amounts of free time. While the large number of incredible organizations to choose from made it incredibly difficult to pick my favorites, after a lot of thought, here are my top seven greatest places to volunteer in Austin.


Inside Books Project


If you’re a major bookworm, the Austin-based Inside Books Project is the perfect place for you to earn some volunteer hours. Every year, volunteers at Inside Books receive nearly 20,000 requests from inmates for books. And by responding to these requests with invaluable free books and educational materials, volunteers not only learn more about the difficulties and ambitions of the 140,000 incarcerated people throughout Texas but also promote reading, literacy, and education among Texas’ incarcerated population. If you’re interested in volunteering with them, just click here.


Austin Pets Alive!


The mission of Austin Pets Alive is to promote and provide the resources, education and programs needed to eliminate the killing of companion animals, and that’s exactly what you’ll do as a volunteer there. From feeding and treating orphaned kittens to walking adorable dogs around Zilker Park, there’s a place for all animal lovers at this organization. So, if you’re passionate about animals, looking to become a veterinarian in the future, or if you just really want to spend a few hours de-stressing with some loving animals, click here to get more information about this great organization.



Food not Bombs


Interested in advancing a political cause while also providing healthy and nutritious food to the homeless? If so, Food Not Bombs should be the first organization on your list of places to check out. The local Austin chapter of Food Not Bombs works on reducing food waste, collecting discarded food, and preparing vegan meals that they share with the hungry while also providing literature about the need to change the poverty epidemic throughout society. And if you’re worried about how to fit volunteer opportunities into your busy schedule, don’t fret. Food Not Bombs hosts an event every week. To learn how to volunteer for this organization, just click here or here.


Keep Austin Beautiful


The five pillars of Keep Austin Beautiful include clean, beautify, recycle, educate, and recognize; all of which enforce this organization’s mission of making Austin the cleanest, most beautiful community in the state of Texas. Volunteers will be tasked with cleaning up trash public spaces, removing unwanted graffiti, planting trees throughout the city, becoming more educated about local environmental issues, and much much more. Anyone interested in making the areas surrounding UT Austin a better place to be, from Lady Bird Lake to Highway 360, should immediately check out the volunteer page for this amazing group here.



Austin Central Library


The Austin Central Library is almost certainly one of the greatest public resources that the city provides, so it only makes sense to give some time and energy back to this incredible institution. The incredibly long list of opportunities for volunteers includes teaching young children computer skills, sorting recycled books, tutoring local students in a wide variety of subjects, and even playing board games with other members of the community. With so many unique possibilities, it should only be a matter of time before you sign up to become a volunteer, especially because it is so easy to do so. Just click here for more information.




Girlstart is a noteworthy Austin-based nonprofit which works to empower young girls to excel in math, science and technology. Because of their work, this organization established themselves as a leader in empowering, educating, and motivating girls to enjoy and become more proficient in these male-dominated fields. If you’re interested in STEM fields or helping younger generations of girls in the Austin community become more comfortable and involved in STEM fields, this organization is for you. Becoming a volunteer for this organization is simple, just click here for more information.




According to their website, Out Youth serves the Central Texas LGBTQ+ youth and their allies with programs and services to ensure these promising young people develop into happy, healthy, successful adults. This organization provides a safe space for all Austin LGBTQ+ youth to come together, receive support, and make friends who understand who they are, all through the support and effort of hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers for this organization have the chance to directly interact with LGBTQ+ youth, at events like the PRIDE Parade or the Youth Prom. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, check out their website here.