Top 10 Cities with the Most Volunteer Opportunities

Earlier this week, we shared five encouraging stats from our 2015 Impact Report that prove the nonprofit sector and volunteer engagement isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

With 104,000 nonprofits on VolunteerMatch working to engage volunteers to make a difference in 2015, we found that there’s no shortage of opportunities for volunteers to do good.

We also found out which cities have the highest number of volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch — created by do-gooders like you who triumphantly post new opportunities, representing their city in return. By climbing to the top of our ranks, these cities have outdone other cities across America to provide extensive opportunities for volunteers to give back.

Here are the top 10.

10) Portland, OregonPortland

Oregonians, you think very highly of nonprofits. In fact, in a public opinion poll involving over 1,700 residents, 79% of you said your involvement with nonprofits has helped improve your life.

Although Portland comes in at #10 for the most volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch in 2015, Portland millennials volunteer more than millennials in any other city. And according to the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS), 33% of Portland’s residents volunteer — one of the highest rates in America!

With over 22,000 registered nonprofits in Oregon, there’s no shortage to where you can do good. And we know Portlandians love nonprofits with a focus on education — these make up 29% of the nonprofits you volunteer for, so go on — if you live in the Portland area, register for one of these education-related volunteer opportunities.

9) Denver, ColoradoDenver

Ah, Denver — also known as “the Mile-High City,” where Denver Broncos, 300 days of annual sunshine, and recent Colorado marijuana legalization reign. Did you know that Denver was also named the Best Place to Live in America by the U.S. News & World Report?

If that isn’t enough, Denver is a great place to volunteer, too! Coming in at #9, Denverites have over 950 opportunities to look forward to on VolunteerMatch. And with 30% of Denver’s residents logging more than 52.4 million hours in service in 2014, you’re only a few clicks away to register for an opportunity to give back.

8) Washington, D.C.Washington D.C.

We bet you thought you’d be #1, didn’t you?

Washington, D.C., also known as the District — our nation’s capital — is arguably at the epicenter of America’s nonprofit industry. With thousands of nonprofits headquartered in the Washington, D.C.-area, VolunteerMatch offers nearly 1,375 opportunities to give back. There really couldn’t be a better city to volunteer with your favorite nonprofit.

According to the CNCS, 1.5 million Washington D.C.-area residents volunteered in 2014. That’s 32.3% of the total population (one of the highest on our list)! Washington, D.C. also has more veterans who volunteer than any other city in America, and the most teen-aged volunteers than any other city on our list.

7) Los Angeles, CaliforniaLos Angeles

Los Angeles may be known for glitz, glamor and Hollywood, but not so much for volunteers per capita. Coming in at #7, Angelenos have approximately 2,494 current available opportunities to volunteer. But in a region with a population that surpasses 10 million, only 20% of you volunteer.

While the stats are grim, there’s one thing Los Angeles-area residents can do to help — that’s right, get out and volunteer! By volunteering, you’ll not only heighten your city’s rank — you’ll feel better by doing so.

If you live in the L.A.-area: find (literally) thousands of ways to volunteer here. And who knows, you may even get to volunteer alongside celebrity philanthropists like the Clooneys and Brangelina.

6) San Francisco, CaliforniaSan Francisco

To the north of L.A. lies the city on the Bay — and the two can be pretty different when it comes to giving back. San Francisco clocks in at #6 on our list. With 1,970 available opportunities to volunteer on VolunteerMatch (and growing), over 30% of San Franciscans volunteered their time in 2014.

What’s more is 36.5% of Bay Area volunteers support education-backed causes — significantly higher than any other cause category. And with over 7,000 college-degree-holders per square mile, the city has some of the densest clusters of educated workers in the United States.

Conversely, the Bay Area ranks near the bottom in terms of charitable, monetary giving, according to this report. Which poses the question: do Bay Area residents prefer to give time over money? (We’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments section below.)

5) San Diego, CaliforniaSan Diego

Also known as “America’s Finest City,” and the third city in California on our list, San Diego comes in at #5 for the most opportunities on VolunteerMatch in 2015. With over 1,200 current opportunities to choose from, it’s no wonder more than 700,000 of you volunteered in 2014.

And according to the CNCS, you also have the highest number of hours per resident than any other city on our list — congrats, guys! From San Francisco to San Diego, if you live in California, you can also explore one of many possibilities to volunteer with the California Libraries.

4) Seattle, WashingtonSeattle

Seattle is the sixth west coast city on our list and comes in at #4 for the most opportunities on VolunteerMatch in 2015. With over 1,450 volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch, it’s no wonder Seattleites also come in 7th (in terms of volunteering) among the nation’s 51 largest MSAs.

With 23 or more colleges in, Seattle also has more college students who give back than any other city in America. If you’re in the Seattle-area, consider volunteering with the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) — a nonprofit whose mission it is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe and have a permanent home.

3) Chicago, IllinoisChicago

Side note: While Chicago is widely known as the “Windy City”, it is not the windiest city in the United States. Nor does the term mean what you think it does. In fact, “Windy City” came into common usage following Chicago’s rivalry with Cincinnati in the late-1800s.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, Chicago comes in third on our list. With approximately 1,325 volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch, we know 32.4% of you who volunteer love to give back to religious causes. If you’re in the Chicago-area, register to help a faith-based nonprofit on VolunteerMatch.

2) Minneapolis, MinnesotaMinneapolis

Minneapolis makes up one-half of the “Twin Cities,” and clocks in at #2 on our list. With 35.5% of Minneapolis-St. Paul-area residents volunteering in 2014, it’s obvious why your city ranks 2nd among the nation’s 51 largest MSAs.

Nonprofits in Minneapolis-St. Paul also have the highest number of returning volunteers, older Americans, baby boomers, and parents who volunteer than any other city on our list (according to the CNCS). For a city that loves to do this much good, it makes sense you’d have more than 1,800 opportunities to choose from on VolunteerMatch. Volunteer ON!

1) New York, New YorkNew York

New York — also known as the “Big Apple” — is home to Broadway, Times Square, and more arts-focused nonprofits than any other city in America. And if that isn’t enough: Congratulations, guys, you also made it to #1 on our list!

Last year, we announced the beginnings of a beautiful partnership between VolunteerMatch and NYC Service — one of over 200 Cities of Service in the US and UK — which promotes volunteerism, engages New Yorkers in service, builds volunteer capacity and mobilizes the power of volunteers and service year members to impact NYC’s greatest needs.

NYC Service broke new ground to become the first City of Service in the nation to adopt VolunteerMatch’s Public Use API. In doing so, NYC Service posted a thousand volunteer opportunities for New Yorkers looking to make a difference, helping increase VolunteerMatch volunteer opportunities for New Yorkers to over 2,300.

While this may have boosted your city up to our #1 spot, nonprofits in other cities still have time to do the same. Learn more about our API partnerships, nonprofit, and corporate solutions by visiting

If your city didn’t make it on the list, tell us why you think it deserves a spot. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!