40+ ways to give back in Charleston, SC


It’s officially thankful season, and while many folks are passionate about giving back to the city that has given them so much, it’s often hard to decide what exactly they want to participate in – given the hundreds of opportunities in Charleston. Well, why not start by using what you love to help others?

We’ve made it easy to turn your passions into a gift to others by putting together this volunteer guide catered to specific interests. From artists to those passionate about Charleston’s minority groups, we’ve rounded up opportunities for everyone.

🦃 If the holidays are your favorite time of the year

○ Donate turkeys, hams + monetary contributions during One80 Place’s annual Turkey and a $20 drive on Tues., Nov. 24 (in-person volunteering is suspended through November due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
Help feed families during the holidays with Lowcountry Food Bank (in need of low-risk volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic)
○ Adopt a family through East Cooper Community Outreach’s Christmas Assistance Program
Participate in Angel Tree of Charleston, SC
○ Charleston Southern University students can get in the Christmas spirit during this Operation Christmas Child box-packing party

🍎 Natural-born teachers + mentors

Empower students to reach their full potential through Be a Mentor
Teach English as a Second Language (ESL) through Trident United Way
Be a lunch buddy to a Charleston County School District student (temporarily paused due to COVID-19)

💙 If you want to be there for abuse victims

Help children feel safe + comfortable while at Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center by becoming a Child Advocate
Volunteer as a domestic violence crisis line worker through My Sister’s House (volunteering currently suspended due to COVID-19)

♿ If you have a passion for disabled community members

Help those who are blind or visually impaired practice braille through the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired SC (instructors will help you learn braille)
From helping community members with cognitive to physical disabilities, find your perfect placement through the Disabilities Board of Charleston County 

🏠 If you want to stay in your home

Contact a local assisted living facility to ask about becoming a pen pal with a resident
○ Donate airline miles (+ other gifts) to children participating in South Carolina’s Make-A-Wish program
Arrange contactless pick-up of donated items via Salvation Army Charleston
○ Give to your favorite local charity or nonprofit virtually

💚 Advocates of mental illness + health awareness

Participate in various anti-stigma community events through Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center
Become an instructor or facilitator of support groups through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Charleston

🗓️ If you’re on a tight schedule 

Choose a time to donate blood through The Blood Connection
Be matched with an event that works with your schedule during Trident United Way’s 2020 Day of Caring 

🎨 The artists

Create scrub hats, therapy dolls + knitted blankets for children at MUSC Health (temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic) 
Become a Creative Champion + encourage both children and adults to explore various artistic concepts + mediums at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
○ Instill the love + appreciation of art in others by joining the Gibbes Museum of Art’s Museum Educators team 

😷 If you’re interested in healthcare

Teens can develop career skills through Roper St. Francis Healthcare’s SCRUBS mentoring and career exploration programs
Give babies the comfort + touch they need for emotional and physical development through MUSC Health’s Special Care Nursery

🐶 Animal lovers

Become an off-site Conservation Assistant at the South Carolina Aquarium
Help shelter animals feel loved through Charleston Animal Society, Pet Helpers or Dorchester Paws

🌳 The outdoorsy types

Participate in beach sweeps through Surfrider Foundation Charleston
○ Maintain your green thumb by becoming a garden volunteer with The Green Heart Project or Charleston Parks Conservancy
Help keep our roads clean by participating in PalmettoPride’s Adopt-a-Highway program

🏳️‍🌈 If you’re passionate about supporting local minority groups

Participate in community outreach for Charleston’s LGBTQ+ youth through We Are Family
Help create a space of integration, culture + education through Art Pot Multicultural Group

🍍If you live + breathe Charleston

Volunteer during various events hosted by the Preservation Society of Charleston
Assist with educational programs through the Historic Charleston Foundation

📚 Self-proclaimed bibliophiles

Assist with Charleston Friends of the Library’s annual book sales
○ Donate gently-used books to the Charleston County Public Library
Participate in literacy programs through SC Reading Partners

🦋 The social butterflies

Join a volunteer organization like Junior League of Charleston
Serve South Carolina’s nonprofit community by participating in SC Togethers Advocacy Allies 

🔨 The handymen + women

○ Build homes for the community through Habitat for Humanity
○ Transform the living spaces of those in need by delivering furniture with Hope to Home Furniture Resource

Don’t see anything that fits your interests? Check out VolunteerMatch – a resource that helps you find local volunteer opportunities suited to your preferences.