Volunteering through United Way

Volunteer Vision

United Way of East Central Iowa strives to be the area’s central resource for connecting, promoting, and educating people on the importance of volunteerism.

Volunteer Mission

To bring people together to improve lives and strengthen communities through volunteering.


Find out more about volunteering

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Volunteer Now

United Way’s volunteer website is a one-stop shop for volunteer opportunities in the Cedar Rapids area. There are over 90 agencies that actively use the site and over 180 volunteer opportunities are listed. Click the volunteer button to discover how you can make an impact.

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United Way’s Strategic Issues and Volunteering

Advancing the common good and creating stronger communities is best done by focusing on the building blocks for a better life- Education, Income, and Health. By addressing the root cause of community problems in these areas, we can get real results and create lasting, positive change. United Way’s goals by 2016 for these areas are:

  • Education- Increase the number of low-income children ready for school.
  • Income- Increase the number of financially stable households.
  • Health- Increase healthy choices and increase the number of older adults who can meet their daily living needs.

Volunteering is one way you can help United Way meet these goals. Click on a puzzle piece below to see how volunteering fits into our three strategic areas and how you can get involved!

Days of Service

United Way supports, one-day, episodic days of service as an introduction to volunteering and to encourage volunteers to become more engaged in the community. United Way of East Central Iowa generally organizes three days of service throughout the year:

  • Day of Caring in May focuses on engaging companies in volunteering
  • Make a Difference Day held in October
  • MLK Day of Service held in January


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Group Volunteering

If you have a group that would like help finding a volunteer opportunity, please fill out our group volunteering form. Our volunteer manager will review your information and begin the process of finding a volunteer opportunity that works for you.

Ready-Made Volunteer Projects

If your workplace or group is interested in volunteering, but you don’t have a day away from the office to give, then ready-made volunteer projects are for you.  These projects typically consist of a week long drive to collect donated items, and then conclude over a lunch hour where the items are assembled into “kits”.  Read our project descriptions here.

Skills-Based Volunteering

Skills-based volunteering is a way for professionals to give back to the community using the skills that they have gained through their work experience, improve their work skills, challenge themselves, and make their company more visible in the community.

If you are interested in finding a skills-based volunteering opportunity, please contact United Way’s Volunteer Manager, Sue Driscoll at sdriscoll@uweci.org.

To look at the current skills-based volunteer opportunities listed on our website click on the button.

Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)

You’ve gained a lifetime of experience. Now is the time to put your skills and talents to good use by volunteering through RSVP. RSVP of Linn and Jones Counties engages adults, age 55 and older, in volunteer services which meet the critical community needs that impact citizens of all ages, while providing a high quality experience that will enrich the lives of volunteers. For more information visit our RSVP page.

Workplace Volunteer Council

If your company has an employee volunteer program or is interested in developing one, United Way is starting to form a workplace volunteer council to bring companies together to talk about developing and growing their programs. For more information contact Sue Driscoll, sdriscoll@uweci.org.

Leaders In Volunteerism (LIV)

LIV is a group of area volunteer managers who meet to discuss ways to promote volunteerism in Cedar Rapids.  The mission of Leaders in Volunteerism is to strengthen the leadership skills of volunteer managers and increase community awareness of the importance of volunteerism.  Check out LIV’s website for more information.

National Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service helps United Way achieve its community goals through programs like Youth Achievement Corps, AmeriCorps VISTA, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and the Volunteer Generation Fund grant.


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Volunteer Tips

Wondering how to pick a volunteer opportunity? Here are some tips:

  • Look for an opportunity that matches your interests.  Research organizations that support a cause you feel strongly about.
  • Consider the skills you have to offer. If you are good at something and enjoy it share your skills with others.
  • Are you interested in learning a new skill? Sign up for a volunteer opportunity that will help you develop a new skill.
  • Think about what motivates you.  Do you enjoy social interaction, managing a process or leading a group?   Make sure you are in a position that is fulfilling and makes you feel good.
  • Find an opportunity that fits your schedule.  Are you available one hour a week, a month or just certain times of the year?  Consider when you are available- during the day, evenings or on the weekends.
  • Shop around and research different organizations.  Once you find a few organizations/opportunities you are interested in, request an interview.  Ask questions to make sure it is the right fit for you. Speak to other volunteers at the organization and ask about their experiences.


Volunteer recognition

Every April, United Way recognizes outstanding volunteers through our Volunteer of the Year awards.

Public voting for finalists in the categories of outstanding youth, adult, senior, and group volunteers will open March 17, 2014. The winners are voted on by the public and receive an award and a donation to a local nonprofit of their choice.

View the 2013 winners' stories here.

Click here to find a volunteer opportunity in the Cedar Rapids area