Whether it’s singing in the church choir, donating to a food drive, or washing cars to help a worthy cause, there are many great ways to volunteer. But doing good doesn’t have to be boring. If you want to make a difference in your community or the world, there are so many cool volunteer opportunities you should know about. In fact, you’d probably pay to do some of these fun charitable activities.

Some charities invite you to snuggle with kittens, feed wild horses, or spend time with babies. Others invite you to inspire people by teaching a class on a topic you’re passionate about. And then there are destination volunteer gigs – who wouldn’t want to hop on a cruise ship to do some good, or garden in Spain?

Finding great ways to volunteer isn’t rocket science. A quick Internet search will turn up tons of charitable organizations and places you can volunteer for fun. You’ll be helping others, but you’ll be helping yourself as well.

Cuddle Kittens At An Animal Shelter

Video: YouTube

Animal lovers, here is your dream volunteer opportunity! Animal shelters often need volunteers to cuddle kittens and cats. Shelter animals already have a tough go of it, but languishing behind those concrete walls with no one to love them is enough to break their spirits. Some of these critters are dealing with painful medical conditions, some are on medicines that make them feel poorly, and some have been through surgery or abused by their previous owner. Loving, caring humans are the best medicine for these little ones.

Your job is to keep them company, snuggle with them, and play with them. Who could ask for anything more?

Explore The Rainforest

Photo: US Department of Foreign Affairs And Trade/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Want to make a difference for everyone in the world? Do you support sustainability, and love getting lost in nature? Volunteering in a rainforest may be exactly what you need.

There are tons of opportunities to work in the rainforest. You can study endangered species. You can help rebuild indigenous people’s communities. You can learn about plants that may offer cures for deadly diseases. Your choices are as myriad and amazing as the forests themselves.

Snuggle With Newborn Babies

Photo: TaniaVdB/Pixabay/Public Domain

Only the most hard-hearted can resist cuddling a newborn baby. You can do just that thanks to hospitals around the country; some have begun to offer programs where trained volunteers come into the maternity and pediatric wards to hold and comfort babies who were born with their mother’s drug addiction. The cuddling not only feels good to the volunteer and the baby, but it is vital to their survival, according to doctors and addiction experts.

Volunteer Aboard A Cruising Hospital Ship

Photo: Mercy Ships/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Cruises aboard luxurious ships are great, but also expensive. For those who would like an ocean experience with some good vibes on the side, volunteering aboard a cruising hospital ship might be just what they’re looking for.

This type of volunteer work is best suited for those with a medical background, but there are also jobs aboard that do not involve medical care. The ships operate much like small cities, with everyone on board working together. In addition to helping people from developing countries, you will also have chances to go on land-based excursions and relax doing onboard activities.

Help Restore Historic Sites

Photo: Laura A. Macaluso, Ph.D./Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

This one is for the history buffs. Quite a few public and private historic sites have suffered budget cuts over the years, and they need volunteers more than ever. The opportunities are limitless, involving living history performance, tour guide and docent work, livestock and farm duties, and maintenance of buildings and grounds. You will both teach and learn along the way, and keep the past alive for future generations.

Care For Plants And Animals On A Spanish Farm

Photo: Public Domain/MaxPixel

You can volunteer on all sorts of farms nearly anywhere in the world, though one destination in Mallorca, Spain is certainly eye catching. Pedruxella Gran Farm grows organic olives and other vegetables and fruits. Volunteers help take care of the groves, gardens, and animals, and take on chores including pruning olive trees and harvesting produce.

The property dates back to the 13th century, so the gig is a great opportunity for history buffs. The work level is medium in intensity, with lots of peace and quiet, fresh air, and opportunities for all sorts of outdoor leisure activities, like hiking, biking, and swimming.

Sharpen Your DIY Skills And Build Homes For Needy

Photo: US Department of Agriculture/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Organizations like Habitat For Humanity specialize in building homes for people in need, and there’s so much a volunteer can take away from the experience. From the purely practical standpoint, you learn how to build a house – meaning you gain valuable skills to use in your own home. The camaraderie you experience with your fellow volunteers is second to none, and seeing a needy family move into their new home is guaranteed to give you all the feels.

Tend To Wild Ponies

Photo: Linda/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Equine enthusiasts should know there are quite a number of rewarding opportunities to serve as a volunteer in caring for wild horses and ponies. Some of these animals are protected by state and federal governments, and private organizations look after their welfare too. A number of these volunteer opportunities are along coastal areas, but some are in the American Southwest and Western regions. So, if you love the great outdoors as well, this may well be your ideal volunteer job.

Duties may include feeding the horses, providing farrier and veterinary care, and maintaining their habitat and their safety.

Go Diving With Sharks

Photo: FrontierOfficial/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Organizations like Marine Volunteers provide opportunities for people looking to give back while satisfying their sense of adventure. Volunteers go to South Africa, where they spend time assisting tourists and learning about shark behavior and biology. They also get plenty of face time with the often misunderstood creatures, including stints in a shark cage.

Lead Treks Through National Parks

Photo: Bureau of Land Management Washington And Oregon/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Feeling stressed? Maybe you just need to get away from it all. Luckily, organizations like the Sierra Club provide opportunities for volunteers to reconnect with nature and encourage conservation.

Volunteers at state or national parks can take on a variety of roles. Work ranges from preserving and maintaining natural areas to leading expeditions to scientific research.

Teach A Class

Photo: LABabble/flickr/CC-BY-ND 2.0

Everyone has an area of expertise worth sharing with others, whether that’s first aid, cooking, chemistry, or belly dancing. Many places welcome volunteer instructors, including the Red Cross, the YMCA, city and county community centers, children’s centers, and museums. Volunteer Match can help you get started, or you can contact any of your local agencies to inquire about teaching opportunities.