The article's title, "Top Community Service Ideas [with Examples!]," beside three volunteers planting and watering trees.

145+ Community Service Ideas [with Examples!]

What Is Community Service?

Community service has many definitions, but the general gist is that it is unpaid work performed by a person or group of people to benefit others. It’s typically organized by a larger organization such as a nonprofit, and people usually perform community service in the area where they live, allowing them to give back and help their local community.

The goal of community service is to help people or places in need and it doesn’t have to be a large planned event (though it can be). For example, you could drive senior citizens to doctor’s appointments or you could pick up litter from a local park.

It’s important to note that community service is not the same as volunteering. While very similar, volunteering is completely voluntary, whereas community service is sometimes compulsory. For example, some high schools may require students to perform a certain number of hours of community service to graduate.

What Makes a Great Community Service Project?

If you’re thinking of hosting a community service project, you need to understand what makes a service idea great. Your community service project should be:

A visual depiction of the elements that make a community service idea great.

  • Relevant: For example, if your neighborhood doesn’t have any green spaces, a park litter cleanup project isn’t very relevant. However, you can make this idea relevant by asking participants to pick up trash from sidewalks and parking lots instead. If you’re organizing a community service project on behalf of an organization like a nonprofit, make sure it’s directly related to that organization’s mission.
  • Meaningful: If you want people to volunteer and participate in any activity, it should be something that they’re interested in and care about. The same is true for community service projects. Choose an idea that’s meaningful to your community members so that they’ll be excited to help out. For example, if you have several young kids in your neighborhood, you might decide to host a youth sports camp that engages them and gives their families a break.
  • Necessary: Ideally, your idea should address a real need in the community and allow participants to make a difference. There are always people, businesses, and causes that require help. For example, if the public school has been wanting to replace their old playground equipment, you could start a crowdfunding campaign and ask for donations.
  • Engaging. Not all community service projects are fun, and that’s normal—after all, helping others isn’t always easy. However, the best community service ideas are engaging and fulfill a real need, as those are the ones that people want to participate in where they can experience a sense of purpose.

Although these are the main four components of a great community service project, we can’t overlook the importance of being well-organized. If you want to host a project of your own, you need to establish a team dedicated to it and map out all the details, including when and where the project will take place. Then, you can provide this information to potential community service participants, ensuring that they know everything they need about your project upfront.

Who Can Participate in Community Service?

Almost anyone can participate in community service—after all, helping others isn’t limited to any particular group. However, when your organization considers which programs to implement, you’ll need to consider what groups of people those projects would most appeal to.

For example, a community service project where participants donate new or used baby clothes and baby supplies would probably attract families with young children. This is great if you know there are many parents in need in your community, if not then it’s time to brainstorm other opportunities.

As you read through all of our community service ideas below, keep in mind which groups of people would be most interested in them. Ask yourself, does this align with my community’s interests and does it fulfill a relevant need? The answer to that question will help you determine if that’s a good community service idea for your unique community.

Crowdfunding: The #1 Community Service Idea
General Ideas Ideas to Address Housing or Food Insecurity
Ideas to Help Schools and Kids Ideas to Reduce Crime or Improve Safety
Ideas to Help Senior Citizens Ideas to Help People with Special Needs
Ideas to Help Animals and the Environment Ideas for Community Improvement

Crowdfunding: The #1 Community Service Idea

Crowdfunding is a method of fundraising that allows individuals to raise money by reaching out and asking for donations from their friends, family, acquaintances, and broader network.

With crowdfunding, individuals and organizations can quickly set up an online donation page through a platform and secure funding for a range of causes: special projects, financial expenses, charity, events, and more.

Why Is Crowdfunding Our #1 Community Service Idea?

Crowdfunding is our top community service idea because it is quick, easy, and effective. In a matter of minutes, you can have your campaign page up and running and raising money for your cause.

Whether you want to fund a program to help the elderly or need money to build a playground, crowdfunding is a great model to get you the money you need for your community service project.

Successful crowdfunding campaigns are built around community, just like your service project is going to be.

Click through to start a free Fundly fundraiser and start accepting donations online for your cause.

General Community Service Ideas

  • Participate in a charity walk or run
  • Clean up your local park or playground
  • Volunteer at a local nonprofit
  • Plant trees, flowers, or other plants
  • Organize a clothing drive
  • Volunteer at your local library
  • Participate in a national giving or remembrance day
  • Repair broken household items or appliances for neighbors
  • Ask for charitable donations instead of birthday or Christmas gifts
  • Write and send letters to soldiers and veterans
  • Host a fundraising event and donate the money
  • Adopt a stretch of highway and clean it regularly
  • Teach classes for a skill you have
  • Babysit for local families

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

Some community service ideas require more than hard work and dedication.

Sometimes, you need to raise money to see your community service project through to completion.

If that’s the case, you should set up a crowdfunding campaign to supplement your community service efforts. Crowdfunding campaigns are easy to set up, and you can start raising money from your friends and family members almost instantly.

All you have to do is tell your story, upload photos, and videos, and share the campaign on social media and via email. Consider expanding your campaign to include direct mail as well to truly reach the largest audience possible. By partnering with a direct mail provider like GivingMail, you can jumpstart your crowdfunding campaign through personal letters to each and every one of your supporters without any of the hassle.

It’s that simple!

Example Crowdfunding Campaign for General Community Service

This campaign is the Dalat Junior Class of 2019’s Servathon. It is designed to raise money so that the class has the funding to participate in a servathon and support the community outside their school’s walls.

Here's a successful crowdfunding campaign for a general community service idea.

This community service project was successful because they reached their $7,500 goal with time to spare. The students running the campaign were able to make that goal because they were straightforward and transparent about why they needed the funding and how it would be used.

Community Service Ideas to Help Schools and Kids

  • Hold an egg hunt for school kids
  • Start a coat drive
  • Host a book party for kids in your neighborhood
  • Help teach a child to read
  • Help walk kids home from school
  • Offer tutoring services
  • Host an after-school program
  • Take a child Christmas shopping
  • Coach a youth sports team
  • Become a field trip chaperone
  • Start up a pen pal program for kids
  • Donate baby clothes and supplies
  • Teach kids a valuable life skill
  • Teach a child how to play an instrument
  • Volunteer at a youth shelter
  • Become a teen counselor
  • Become a field trip chaperone
  • Create a summer reading program
  • Donate used books to a children’s library
  • Join a group like Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Knit caps or scarfs for babies or children
  • Donate stuffed animals to kids in hospitals
  • Help build a playground for disabled children
  • Do demonstrations about health and exercise at schools
  • Donate your used electronics to a school
  • Organize a safe Halloween outing for kids in your neighborhood

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

Whether you’re trying to improve your local after-school program or want to start teaching kids a valuable life skill, you’ll likely need money to help fund your endeavors.

Many community service ideas that help children, babies, and schools are much more effective when you get your friends, family, and community members on board with your idea! 

One of the easiest ways to recruit others to help you with your community service project is to set up a crowdfunding campaign and ask people for donations.

Your crowdfunding campaign can serve as the hub of your community service project; you can use it to upload photos and videos of your progress and write updates about how your project is coming along. 

Not only will your friends and family members enjoy seeing how you’re improving the lives of kids, but they can also support your efforts with monetary donations and words of encouragement!

Example Crowdfunding Campaign for Schools and Kids

This campaign was designed to benefit the TandemED program. It’s called “Communities at the Lead of Youth Education,” and its goal is to help fund the TandemED program that “supports local communities to self-design and deliver educational content that will instill youth with purpose and motivation as they engage in learning in public schools.

Here's a great crowdfunding campaign designed around community service targeting kids and schools.

This community service project is professional, targeted, and managed to raise more than double their goal for a program that helps both kids and schools.

Community Service Ideas to Help Senior Citizens

  • Take flowers to nursing home residents
  • Offer to pick up a neighbor’s medicine
  • Help elderly neighbors with chores
  • Offer to write letters for a senior
  • Cook a meal for a senior
  • Deliver cookies or snacks to elderly neighbors
  • Decorate doors at a nursing home for the holidays
  • Organize a senior citizen “field trip”
  • Host a holiday meal at a nursing home
  • Be “Santa” to a senior
  • Do a musical performance at a nursing home
  • Organize a “Senior Prom” at a nursing home
  • Start a grocery delivery service for the elderly
  • Organize a senior garden
  • Host regular game nights at a nursing home
  • Hold a clothing or food drive for a nursing home
  • Do a “Skills Swap” with an elderly neighbor
  • Help a senior citizen with a genealogy project
  • Teach an elderly person a card game or trick
  • Make quilts or blankets for senior citizens
  • Teach an elderly neighbor computer skills
  • Honor elderly veterans on Memorial and Veterans Day
  • Help senior citizens find companion animals
  • Help a senior citizen renovate their home
  • Adopt a grandparent
  • Start a walking or exercise program for seniors

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

There are tons of community service ideas to help senior citizens in your area. But some of them require a bit more work than others.

If you’re planning a more involved community service project to serve the elderly in your community, you should set up a crowdfunding campaign page to supplement your service efforts!

When you center your community service project around a crowdfunding campaign, you can raise money and awareness at the same time.

A crowdfunding page can help you rally others around your undertaking and keep them updated about the progress of your project.

Your friends and family members can demonstrate their support of your community service idea by making a donation or posting a comment on your crowdfunding campaign’s wall.

Example Crowdfunding Campaign for Senior Citizens

This is a crowdfunding campaign designed to raise money for a senior citizen in the West Palm Beach community. Karen, the recipient of the funds, had to undergo multiple surgeries on her leg and didn’t have the funds to cover her care.

Here's a great community service project designed to benefit a senior citizen.

Smartly, this campaign’s organizer focused on Karen’s contributions to the community and what an impact she had made when she was healthy. That technique worked and enabled the campaign to exceed its goal, raising a total of $27,640.

Community Service Ideas to Help Animals and the Environment

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Plant trees in a local park
  • Raise money for retired police dogs
  • Clean up a stretch of highway
  • Offer a dog-walking service
  • Organize a riverbed or stream cleanup
  • Organize a spay and neuter program
  • Set up and maintain a butterfly garden
  • Sponsor an animal in your city’s zoo
  • Help train service dogs
  • Host a Puppy Day at a school
  • Adopt an acre of a forest or park
  • Build birdhouses for your neighborhood
  • Host an Earth Day event
  • Host an equine skills clinic
  • Spruce up a park trail or hiking area
  • Raise money for a local animal shelter
  • Bike to work or school
  • Encourage and promote conservationism
  • Create eco-friendly policies at home, work, or school
  • Foster dogs and cats that don’t have homes
  • Make purses and jewelry out of recycled materials
  • Collect pet food and supplies for a shelter
  • Get involved in local conservation activities
  • Volunteer at a local national or state park

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

Are you planning a community service project to help animals or the environment? Did you know that you can use crowdfunding to supplement your charitable efforts?

In fact, crowdfunding is one of the best ways to raise money for your animal-related or environmental community service idea!

First, you’ll need to set up a crowdfunding page. Most crowdfunding platforms, like GoFundMe, require that you upload a few images and write a description that outlines why you’re raising money.

Then, you can share the crowdfunding campaign with your friends and family members via social media and email. The more you share your fundraiser with others, the more likely they’ll be to donate to your community service project.

Whether you’re trying to help out a local animal shelter or want to adopt a highway, you can use crowdfunding to give your community service ideas a boost!

Example Crowdfunding Campaign for Animals

This animal-based community service project popped up after the devastation brought on by Harvey. It’s a fundraiser to raise the money necessary to transport shelter animals out of Houston and into safe shelters.

Check out this community service fundraiser for animals and the environment.

This project succeeded because it is tied into the work of an established animal rescue, and the organizer was highly detailed and specific about exactly what needed to be accomplished.Click through to start a free Fundly fundraiser and start accepting donations online for your cause.

Community Service Ideas to Address Housing or Food Insecurity

  • Collect household items for a homeless family
  • Volunteer at and donate to your local food bank
  • Volunteer with a charity like Habitat for Humanity
  • Organize a health fair that offers free checkups
  • Give grocery coupons to a local food bank
  • Host a holiday meal for those without a home
  • Create care packages with essential items
  • Host free resume workshops for homeless job seekers
  • Donate toys and school supplies to a homeless shelter
  • Create portable first aid kits for the homeless
  • Organize a coat and mitten drive
  • Donate gently used clothing and shoes
  • Donate blankets to a homeless shelter
  • Spend time at a soup kitchen

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

If you’re organizing a community service effort to help individuals and families who are homeless or hungry, you might discover that you need some extra funds to help you pay for your project.

You can set up a crowdfunding campaign and ask for donations from your friends, family members, and people in your community! Crowdfunding is one of the quickest and easiest ways to raise money for a community service project.

Simply set up an account, upload images and videos, write a description that explains why you’re raising money, and share your page via social media and email. It’s that easy!

Example Crowdfunding Campaign to Address Housing or Food Insecurity

This crowdfunding campaign is tied into the Christmas event hosted by Swords to Plowshares. The event is a night where homeless veterans are able to come and receive a warm meal, as well as a backpack filled with gear to help them endure the cold winter months.

See how this community service project helped feed the homeless.

“Cold Nights, Warm Hearts” did a great job of including compelling images that put community and service first. Its “More Info” section was also filled with helpful information that surely inspired a number of donors to contribute to their $11,615 fundraising total.

Community Service Ideas to Reduce Crime or Improve Safety

  • Teach kids about safety and first aid
  • Volunteer as a lifeguard
  • Volunteer at or donate to a battered women or youth shelter
  • Become CPR certified
  • Volunteer at a fire station
  • Join an organization like DARE
  • Teach self-defense lessons
  • Paint over graffiti in your neighborhood
  • Host seminars about drug and alcohol use
  • Help develop safety procedures for schools
  • Volunteer to be a crossing guard at a school
  • Help teach safe driving by becoming a driver’s ed instructor
  • Become part of your neighborhood watch group
  • Start a violence protection group in your community

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

If your community service idea is focused on reducing crime and promoting safety in your local neighborhood, you may find that you need more help to accomplish your goals.

For instance, you might want to help renovate a battered women’s shelter in your area, but you don’t have enough funds to finish the project.

Crowdfunding can help! Set up a crowdfunding campaign, tell your story, add visuals, and share it with your friends and family members to raise money and awareness for your community service project.

You can also use your crowdfunding page to keep people in the loop about your project’s progress.

Example Crowdfunding Campaign to Reduce Crime

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Police Department coordinated a fundraiser leading up to the annual “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” charity walk that is geared around raising awareness of and preventing sexual assault.

Check out this community service campaign to reduce crime.

The organizer of this campaign more than doubled his campaign goal by foregrounding the cause, preventing sexual assault and domestic violence, above all else.

Community Service Ideas to Help People with Special Needs

  • Host free reading sessions at the local library
  • Work with children with special needs on an art project
  • Volunteer with a local care center
  • Hold a crayon and marker drive
  • Volunteer with the Special Olympics
  • Collect school supplies for special needs classrooms
  • Volunteer with a Hippotherapy program
  • Help make sure your neighborhood is handicap accessible
  • Create materials to teach people in your community about respecting and supporting those with special needs
  • Raise money to donate to a care center in your community
  • Set up a buddy program through the special needs program at the school
  • Set up a library at the local children’s hospital

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

If your community service idea is based around serving individuals with special needs, there’s a good chance a portion of your project will involve raising money.

For example, you might want to volunteer with the Special Olympics athletes but also need money to travel to the competitions.

Crowdfunding will help with your fundraising needs! Design a campaign around the individuals you’re serving, and emphasize exactly what the money will accomplish.

Make sure your campaign features compelling copy and visuals and is promoted heavily, and you’ll be in good shape!

Example Crowdfunding Campaign for People with Special Needs

“A Ray of Hope” is a fundraiser organized by Lee Morgan in order to fund the construction of an educational and therapy center for special needs children in Tiruvannamalai, India.

A Ray of Hope is well on its way to its massive crowdfunding community service project goal.

This project has succeeded and will continue to succeed for a number of reasons, including: updates with photos, a well-written description, customized giving levels, and a worthwhile cause at its core.

Community Service Ideas for Community Improvement

  • Get speed bumps added to residential streets
  • Pick up trash around the neighborhood
  • Assist with home painting
  • Start a community garden
  • Work with neighbors on modest home repair
  • Raise money to build a playground
  • Offer a lawn mowing service
  • Collect supplies for families who have lost their homes in fires
  • Teach a class at the community center
  • Rake leaves in the fall
  • Campaign for more bike lanes and sidewalks
  • Join your neighborhood watch group
  • Reach out to local government about lighting streets better
  • Help people clean their gutters

How to Incorporate Crowdfunding

If you’re looking to organize a community service project around bettering your neighborhood, it is likely that you’re going to need to raise money. Simply put, more community improvement projects require funding.

Crowdfunding can get you the money you need. You can leverage your online fundraising page to reach members of your community who would have otherwise never known about your project. 

For instance, you might be looking to launch a community garden in your local park. While it will eventually sustain itself, you’ll need the initial investment of funds to prepare the land and plant the seeds.

With a successful crowdfunding campaign, you can get the money you need and more.

Example Crowdfunding Campaign for Neighborhood Betterment

The “Neighbors Helping Neighbors Garden” was a simple project designed to raise $150 and build a fence around the garden.

This low-stakes campaign was all that was needed to fulfill this neighborhood's community service needs.

This campaign proves that projects don’t have to have massive goals to be considered a success. The organizer smartly created a campaign that would meet her community service needs and was able to reach her goal with just four donations.

Additional Resources

Click through to launch a Fundly fundraiser with no startup or hidden fees and collect online donations for your cause.

Title of the post overlaid on top of a photo of two consultants working

Top Capital Campaign Consultants To Help You Raise More

With these virtual fundraising ideas, you'll be well-equipped to raise more for your mission.

40+ Virtual Fundraising Ideas for More Powerful Campaigns

Marketing Your Summer Camp: 5 Successful Strategies

Here are 3 crowdfunding campaign page writing tips to captivate donors.

3 Crowdfunding Campaign Page Writing Tips to Captivate Donors