volunteers handing out swag at a Welcome Celebration picnic for new students

Volunteer Opportunities in Champaign & Urbana

What if we told you that there’s something you could start doing—right now—that would allow you to develop your skills and talents, make friends, discover new interests, give you a more competitive resume, and give back to your community all at the same time? Sound too good to be true? It’s everyone’s favorite 12-letter word (granted, there are only so many 12-letter words): Volunteering.

Volunteering can benefit your life in all kinds of ways while also enriching the lives of the people (or animals) around you. It can be difficult to know how to start volunteering, which is why this article was written just for you. There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities in Champaign & Urbana just waiting for you to get involved. No matter what your interests are, there’s something for everyone!

dog and her owner posing on the Quad, both decked out in Illini gear

Want to volunteer with animals?


If you’re looking for more feline influence in your life, consider volunteering at CATsNAP. The organization adopts out cats, provides cat-care aid, and promotes healthy cat population control. 

Champaign County Audubon Society

If you’re a bird lover but prefer work that’s less hands-on, consider reviewing grant applications, printing newsletters, and more through the Audubon Society.

Champaign County Humane Society

The Humane Society hosts dogs, cats, rabbits, and other small animals who are available for adoption. Volunteers provide essential animal care, cleaning, and enrichment!

Hospice Hearts Animal Rescue

If you’ve ever wondered what happens to animals when their owners are no longer able to care for them, find the answer at Hospice Hearts. You can volunteer by fostering an animal in need, working at hospice events, or providing transportation. 

Society for Hooved Animal Rescue & Emergencies (SHARE)

SHARE is a horse sanctuary that currently homes and cares for 40+ animals. If you’re interested in caring for horses, contact SHARE for more information on how to get started.

kids decorating pumpkins at the Homecoming 5k running event

Want to volunteer with children?

Big Brothers Big Sisters

You can make a difference by mentoring and befriending low-income, underprivileged youth from single-parent households through Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Champaign & Urbana Schools

If you want a grab bag of youth volunteer experience, reach out to your nearest elementary, middle, or high school! The majority accept volunteers for all kinds of different positions. 

Crisis Nursery

Crisis Nursery is a safe place for children whose parents are temporarily unable to care for them, whether that be for a few hours or a few days. Volunteering here is a chance to care for and play with young children ages 0 to 6. 

Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club

Volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club is a great way to gain experience with children from a wide range of backgrounds and ages, primarily by spending time with them through summer and after-school programs.

student training in Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Want medical volunteer experience?

Carle Foundation Hospital

At Carle, you can volunteer in the hospice department or opt to serve as a general volunteer in a specific field you’re interested in. Carle also offers volunteer opportunities specifically designed for students.

Champaign County Christian Health Center

If you’re interested in serving Champaign County’s uninsured population, the CCCHC and its medical volunteer opportunities could be a good fit for you. While it’s primarily a health center, the CCCHC also offers non-medical volunteer opportunities.

OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center

You can find several different volunteer opportunities at the OSF Medical Center, depending on your age and your interests. Visit their website to learn more!

Promise Healthcare

Assist a nurse, help enroll patients in healthcare plans, prepare pediatric records, prepare food, and more when you volunteer through Promise Healthcare.

trees at the local Allerton Park and Retreat Center

Want to volunteer outdoors?

Champaign County Forest Preserve

Whether you want to make a difference via gardening, community education, land stewardship, or something else entirely, you can find the opportunity through the Forest Preserve.

Champaign Park District

Assist with Champaign events, coach a youth sport, work with animals at Prairie Farm, or spend time with older adults in the community—it’s all available for Champaign Park District volunteers!

Urbana Park District

Just like its Champaign counterpart, there’s a little bit of everything available here. You might find yourself reviewing trail camera footage, teaching a youth summer class, or maintaining the Anita Purves Nature Center. Reach out today to learn more!

There’s always more to do and to learn.

While we’ve listed several different volunteer opportunities in Champaign & Urbana here, there are countless ways to give back to your community and dozens of exciting opportunities out there that aren’t on this list. There are volunteer opportunities that you might not have known existed, like advocating for abused children in court or just getting right down to it and building houses

If none of the opportunities above caught your eye, we recommend checking out other extensive lists of volunteering opportunities in the CU area (like this United Way list) or using volunteer-finding services like VolunteerMatch. Whether you volunteer with people or animals, in nature or a construction site, volunteering means you can make a difference and change your community for good. Go for it!

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