Interested in Volunteering?

Our member programs offer thousands of placement opportunities across the United States and around the world. There's something for everyone!


Resources for Prospective Volunteers

RESPONSE Directory of Volunteer Opportunities To read about placement options with our nearly 200 member programs, search through our online RESPONSE directory. The search options will help you find a program that fits your service interests. Contact the programs directly to learn more about their application process. RESPONSE is also available in print and digital versions. 

Post your Volunteer Profile Our member programs use volunteer profiles to recruit volunteers for their program. These profiles are listed in a secure section accessible only to our member program staff. If you have not yet completed a profile, click here to begin the process: Register. Program staff will contact you if they think you might be a good fit for their program.

Urgent Volunteer Opportunities Please keep in mind that it may take a few months to confirm a volunteer placement with one of our member programs. If you would like to begin volunteering more immediately, please view our Urgent Opportunities page.

Webinars for Prospective Volunteers Participate in upcoming webinars for prospective volunteers to learn more about service, and have the opportunity to have your questions answered. Visit our Webinars page to learn more about upcoming sessions.

Hear from our volunteers Our blog "What's Your Response?" features stories from current and former volunteers about the impact of service. Check back often, since new stories are posted a few times every week. 

Get Connected Want to stay up to date on our latest news, resources, and announcements? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to follow along with Catholic Volunteer Network and join in the conversation about faith-based service. 

 

The Four Pillars of Faith-Based Service

You might be asking yourself what makes these Catholic Volunteer Network programs different from other service programs out there. There are actually four ways that our programs are unique - we like to refer to these as our four pillars because they serve as the foundation for nearly all of our member programs.

Social Justice

To us, social justice is a way of seeing the world through the lens of the Gospel. Jesus prompts us to ask questions about the root causes of poverty, injustice, and inequality in our world. We are called to be a source of light for our communities as we seek to promote justice for all. Our volunteer programs are committed to standing with the poor and being agents of positive change.

Community

The service experience can be intense - but you don't have to do it alone! Most of our programs offer the opportunity for their volunteers to live in intentional community. Volunteers share meals and household responsibilities, commit to making decisions collaboratively, and support one another through shared prayer. This emphasis on community helps enrich and deepen the service experience in many ways.

Spirituality

Many of our volunteers cite their faith as one of the primary motivations for their commitment to service. Our programs foster spiritual growth in many ways including regular spirituality nights within volunteer communities, several retreats throughout the year, and opportunities for personal prayer and reflection.

Simplicity

Our programs provide volunteers with many ways to live simply during their time of service. A small living stipend encourages volunteers to become more mindful of their consumption and the ways they choose to spend their money. Shared meals help volunteers reflect more deeply on the impact of their food choices and the benefits to finding local sources for their meals. As the service year goes on, many volunteers find themselves refining what it means to live simply.

Want to learn more about these four pillars and hear how they can help you choose a volunteer program? Check out our recent webinar session on this topic!

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Questions to Ask: Discerning your call to service

Whether you decide to volunteer for a week or three years, committing yourself to service is a big step. Your time spent as a volunteer will have a big impact upon you and upon others. Here are some questions to help you reflect upon the decision to volunteer. The first set of questions will help you reflect on your motivations and expectations. The second set is questions you should ask prospective programs.

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Each person is motivated by their own personal talents, experiences, and goals. It helps to be aware of what is calling you to service, so that you can express this to yourself as well as the programs to which you are applying.

Ask Yourself

Why do I want to be a volunteer?
Everybody decides to volunteer for different reasons. Are you idealistic? Do you want to deepen your relationship with God? Are you committed to social justice? Do you anticipate personal growth? Do you want to change your life?

What are my expectations?
What do you want to experience during your time as a volunteer? What do you hope to gain? What do you expect from your program and specific placement?

What do I have to offer?
What gifts can you share with others? What are your strengths/weaknesses? What professional skills do you bring?

How do I handle changes?
A volunteer year involves a lot of change. Not only will you be living in a new place with new people, but you won’t be earning a salary. How do you handle change? Have you ever been far from your family and support system? How will you adjust to living simply?

How do I relate with others?
Many volunteers find living in community to be the most difficult part of their volunteer year. How do you interact with others? How do you deal with problems and disagreements? Do you have a sense of humor?

What gives me satisfaction?
At the end of the day, what makes you feel good? What do you find comfort in? What do you like to do with others? How do you spend your time when you’re alone?

Questions to ask the Program

What makes your program unique?
What are your core beliefs or tenets? What is the spirituality of charism of your sponsoring community?

What type of placement does your program offer?
What work will I be doing? Do I need to have previous experience? Will you train me to do things I don’t know how to do? How long is your program? Where will I be serving?

What type of living situation do you have?
Programs offer a variety of different living situations. Will I be living with others like me? Where will I be living? How much stipend will I receive? Can I bring a car?

What kind of support do you provide your volunteers?
Will I be trained? What do if I have a problem at my placement? Will there be retreats? How often will I interact with other volunteers? How do you ensure the safety of your volunteers?

How does the application process work?
How long does the process take? Do I need to be interviewed? What paperwork will I need to complete? What kind of background checks are required?

What are your program’s benefits?
Will my student loans be deferred? Will I receive any training or certification? Are AmeriCorps Awards available? Is health insurance provided?

May I speak with former volunteers?
Volunteers who have gone before you are your best resource in learning about a program. Be sure to ask the program to put you in touch with these volunteers who can share with you their experiences.

What happens when the program is over?
How many people have gone through your program? What types of work have former volunteers gone on to do? How do you keep in touch with former volunteers? Do you offer any support for the transition?
 

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering with a faith-based program will have a transformative effect on both you and those whom you serve. Before you choose a volunteer program, it is best to ask yourself what you would like to get out of the experience.

Your time of service will be one of tremendous change and growth. Some of the benefits of service include:

  • The opportunity to serve others – You will be able to give of your time and talents to help those in need. Chances are, you will find that you receive far more from those you serve than you can ever give.
  • An environment in which you can grow spiritually – Whether you are a person with an active spiritual life or someone seeking to deepen your relationship with God, a year of service is a way to be challenged spiritually.
  • The opportunity to live in community with other volunteers – Many volunteers find this to be the most challenging part of their volunteer experience.
  • The opportunity to live and work in a place culturally different than your own – Whether you discern to serve internationally or whether you choose to serve in a different city in the United States, volunteering will allow you to live in a place different from your own. You will be challenged to adapt to a new environment and understand how different people live.
  • Committing yourself to living a simple lifestyle – Living on a small stipend will offer you a chance to examine your own lifestyle decisions and how those decisions impact others. You will find it is quite the challenge to live simply when surrounded by so much.
  • Working for social justice – Poverty and injustice do not exist in a vacuum. Serving the poor and marginalized is a means of raising your own awareness about the institutions and structures that contribute to economic and social inequalities.
  • Professional and educational experience – At most placement sites, you will be in a position that teaches you practical and professional skills. With placements in a wide range of disciplines, volunteer work can give you solid experience for your next step in graduate school or a career.
  • Stipend, room, and board – All programs ensure that their volunteers have the necessities. However, stipend and room and board will vary from program to program.
  • Health insurance – Most programs will provide you with health insurance during your term of service. Be sure to ask the particular program in which you are interested what their policy is.
  • Student loan deferment – In most programs, during your time of service, you will not have to make payments on your student loans. Again, be sure to ask the particular program in which you are interested what their policy is.
  • AmeriCorps Education Award – Some programs participate in this program which provides educations funds to apply to your student loans or to advance your education. 

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