Volunteer opportunities in Santa Barbara County

[ORGS: fill out VOLUNTEER OPPS FORM if you would like your org added to this list]

Let's turn our empathy into action by serving the Santa Barbara community. Volunteer in your own neighborhood... walk someone's dog, visit with an elderly neighbor or offer to do their grocery shopping, tutor kids on your block, provide child care for a parent that could use a break, or go through your closets and donate clothes and toys that you are not using.

Here are options in Santa Barbara County...
*Hover over each column to read everything in the field. If reading on your phone, turn phone sideways to have a bigger/landscape view.

Ask yourself…

  • Would you like to work with adults, children, the elderly or with animals?
  • Would you like to volunteer in person or remotely from home?
  • Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?
  • Are you better behind the scenes or do you prefer to take a more visible role?
  • How much time are you willing to commit?
  • What skills can you bring?
  • What causes are important to you?

When you volunteer…

  • Know what’s expected. You should be comfortable with the organization and understand the time commitment.
  • Start small so you don’t over commit at first.
  • Don’t be afraid to make a change. Don’t feel compelled to stick with a role you dislike if it is not the right fit. Talk to the organization about changing your focus or look for an organization that’s a better fit.
  • Students, put your volunteer experiences on your resumes and think about the skills you learned while you were in that role. For many, this will be your first work experience.

The most valuable assets a volunteer can bring are…

  • compassion
  • an open mind
  • a positive attitude
  • a willingness to pitch in wherever needed


Non-Profit Panel of 20+ SB County organizations shares about how students can create meaningful ways to volunteer. Completing community service hours is more than checking a box off the to-do list... it’s learning about the joy of volunteering, learning new skills, and an opportunity to grow and discover new passions. Find which areas (animals, arts & culture, homelessness, environment & science, education, camps, elderly) are meaningful to you. Volunteering helps people manage stress, feel connected, and increase self-confidence.

Speakers 2023 [VIEW RECORDING 2023 > or LISTEN SPANISH AUDIO >]:  Assistance League of SB, AHA!, Apples to Zucchini Cooking School, Central Coast Rescue Mission, City of SB Parks & Recreation, Community Environmental Council, Cottage Health, Friendship Center, Inclusive Arts Clubhouse, Inclusive Arts Clubhouse - Grace Fisher Foundation, Keiki Paddle, Mental Wellness Center, Resource Family Assistance Support Team, SB Bucket Brigade, SB Humane, SB Museum of Art, SB Museum of Natural History & Sea Center, SB Public Library, YouthWell

Speakers 2021 [VIEW RECORDING 2021 >]: Alpha Resource Center, Apples to Zucchini Cooking School, BUNS (Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter), Fairview Gardens, CommUnify, Community Environmental Council, Cottage Rehabilitation Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp, Cycling Without Age, Direct Relief, Explore Ecology, Food Bank, Friendship Center, Fund For SB, MWC, Sansum Diabetes/Veggie IQ, Santa Maria Public Library, SYV Humane Society/DAWG, SB Museum of Natural History & Sea Center, Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, Wilderness Youth Project

[this is last year's list and many of these volunteer opportunities still exist but the list above is the current list we are in the process of updating.]