The following organizations and events offer opportunities for adults to contribute volunteer hours, while meeting like-minded people and enjoying a sense of community. Some of these volunteer opportunities include tangible benefits such as t-shirts, discounts, and free admission. Requirements and benefits change, so be sure to confirm details before you sign-up or accept any volunteer position.
Museum volunteer opportunities
These art and culture museums usually have on-going volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
(Listed alphabetically by city)
Bellevue Arts Museum volunteer. This museum was started by volunteers in the late 1940s and is “dedicated to art, craft, and design.” Opportunities include customer support and administrative tasks as well as special events and day-to-day operations. Volunteer benefits include 10% off in the museum store, free admission passes, and free admission to other attractions and museums in the area are among the benefits for extended to volunteers.
Edmonds Cascadia Art Museum volunteer. Cascadia Art Museum is a hot spot in Edmonds. Featuring PNW art and design from 1860-1970 this non-profit focuses heavily on giving women and minority artists a voice. Opportunities include leading educational programs, docent, and administrative help. Volunteer benefits include free admission, store discount, special events and training, and more.
Everett Schack Art Center volunteer. The Schack Art Center has become a favorite destination as an admission-free location which prides itself on including artwork from young artists. Schack hosts a number of special events each year which is where the bulk of their volunteer help is needed. Educational programs also provide an opportunity for volunteers.
Seattle Art Museum volunteer. The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) includes the downtown museum, Asian Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park. One-day opportunities are available as well as six-month commitments. Opportunities include coat checking, leading educational classes and presentations, working with children, event support, and more.
Seattle Frye Art Museum volunteer. The Frye family desired this museum to always be free, which it is to this day. The artwork explores themes such as current issues and civic responsibility. Volunteers have the opportunity to work with a unique program for adults living with dementia, serving as museum guides, helping with events, and much more.
Seattle MOHAI volunteer. MOHAI is a cherished museum focused on preserving the PNW’s history and people. MOHAI has a focus on sustainability, being a community resource, and accessibility for all. Volunteers help greet visitors, serve as ambassadors, assist with special events, help with children’s programs and more.
Seattle National Nordic Museum volunteer. As an internationally known museum, this is a popular stop for tourists and locals alike. Volunteers will help share the Nordic culture through activities such as helping with the store, in the gallery halls, and at events. As a volunteer, you have the chance to engage with specific areas in the Nordic region that interest you and learn alongside visitors.
Seattle Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) | Volunteer (naamnw.org). The mission of the NAAM is to preserve and help educate others about the history of the PNW and peoples of African descent. A unique feature of the museum is that volunteers are the first point of contact for guests and also help out throughout the museum and with events. Volunteer benefits include unlimited free admission as well as continuing education opportunities and more.
Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) volunteer. TAM is a centerpiece to downtown Tacoma and a nationally recognized art museum. Founded by volunteers, there are many opportunities to be involved including as a docent, in the TAM studio, and with administrative help. Opportunities are available throughout the year.
Tacoma Museum of Glass volunteer. You won’t find any other museum like this in the PNW, with unique artwork and make-your-own opportunities, it’s a gem for our area. Special events such as Family Day, general museum programming, and more provide opportunities for volunteers to get involved and learn more about glass art as well.
Performance art volunteer opportunities
These venues and events have a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
(Listed alphabetically by city)
Seattle 5th Avenue Theatre volunteer. For almost 100-years this theater modeled after China’s Forbidden City has brought musical theater to the area. At the center of many aspects of 5th Ave are volunteers who help out with tickets, calls, show talks, administrative duties, and much more. Some of the opportunities include the chance to watch the show while you volunteer or to earn free tickets to shows.
Seattle ACT Theatre volunteer. ACT puts on six plays a year including the annual Christmas Carol production which is a staple for many family’s holiday season. Ushers, party and event helpers, and ambassadors are among the ways volunteers can support this vibrant theater. Volunteer benefits include free admission, discounts, volunteer appreciation events and more.
Seattle Earshot Jazz volunteer. Earshot Jazz cultivates a vibrant jazz community around the Puget Sound region, including their signature event, the annual Earshot Jazz Festival every fall. Opportunities include ushering, ticketing, merchandise sales, newsletters and mailing, professional, administrative, and other needs.
Seattle Repertory Theatre volunteer. The Rep theater is a staple part of the Seattle theater scene with plays, events, and discussion forums among their many offerings. Their volunteer organization is the largest of its kind in the nation with chances to help with several aspects of theater life. Volunteer benefits include the chance to take part in meeting the cast and other appreciation opportunities.
Seattle Town Hall volunteer. Town Hall in the heart of Seattle offers civic, arts, and educational events all year long. The theater is managed by a nonprofit organization that relies on rentals, membership, volunteers, and fundraising to sustain the many activities. Volunteer opportunities include ticket taking, photography, administrative tasks, and community outreach. Volunteer benefits include free tickets to events, invitations to special receptions, and Town Hall Membership.
Tacoma Arts Alive volunteer. Tacoma Arts Alive manages several live theater venues throughout the south sound and in Portland. Those who wish to get involved can volunteer with daily operations, ushering, tour guides, and special events. Benefits and incentives are offered based on the level of commitment from the volunteer.
Tacoma Musical Playhouse volunteer. The Tacoma Musical Playhouse is a prized icon for live performances and educational opportunities for all ages. Volunteers have the chance to build sets, staff shows, help with costumes, and much more. Shows happen throughout the year and have included popular productions such as RENT and Oklahoma.
Festival volunteer opportunities
These seasonal festivals begin signing up volunteers several months in advance.
(Listed alphabetically by city)
Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival volunteer. This is the largest wooden boat festival in North America lasting for three days each September in Port Townsend. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to make this festival come together on the water and on the land with needs covering administration, education, set-up/tear-down, shops, photography, and so much more. Volunteers who help out with at least three shifts get a t-shirt and free admission for the festival.
Seattle Hempfest volunteer. For over two decades Seattle has hosted this internationally attended event, the largest cannabis convocation in the world. Nearly 1,000 volunteers help make this festival possible ranging from construction, entertainment, operations, promotion, safety, and much more. There are volunteer opportunities throughout the year in addition to the big event each fall.
Seattle International Film Festival volunteer (siff.net) opportunities include the annual Seattle International Film Festival every May-June as well as the year-round movie theaters: SIFF Cinema Uptown Theater on Lower Queen Anne, the Egyptian theater on Capitol Hill, and the SIFF Film Center on the grounds of Seattle Center. Anyone at least 16 years old can volunteer at SIFF, helping with tasks at the theaters, offices, and festival special events. SIFF awards its volunteers with vouchers that are redeemable for the annual Film Festival, as well as year-round theater tickets or SIFF Membership. (Membership benefits include early access to Festival Tickets, plus ticket discounts, free popcorn, and more.) Of course, when you volunteer with SIFF, you also get to meet tons of cool people and see great films.
Seattle Northwest Folklife volunteer. With a strong commitment to strengthening the community by preserving and highlighting culture, Northwest Folklife strives to make their museum available to all. Volunteers can help with the Big Neighborhood Events at the Seattle Center, Movin’ Around the World event, or any of the ongoing daily opportunities. Multicultural programming and education is only possible with the large pool of volunteers who help out each year.
Science, Technology & Nature volunteer opportunities
These organizations offer some seasonal and some on-going volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
(Listed alphabetically by city or location)
Kitsap Peninsula Beach Naturalist volunteer. This unique program offers guests and residents a chance to explore beaches at low-tide and learn from volunteers about the plants and animals in the Sound. Naturalist volunteers will attend beach walks throughout the spring and summer to provide information to the public. Field trips, touch tanks, talks, and other educational opportunities are available as well.
Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalist program. During low-tide through the summer, the Seattle Aquarium sends naturalists to beaches around the Seattle area to teach. Volunteers answer questions at beaches about the plant and animal life at low-tide as well as ensure safety for those creatures and beach go-ers. Naturalists are highly trained and have the opportunity to learn even more about the Sound and animals within it.
Seattle Audubon volunteer. The Seattle Audubon is an integral part of maintaining bird species and habitat throughout the area. Those wishing to help out can participate in day-to-day administrative operations, educational outreach, community events, school events, and more. High-quality training and ongoing events and appreciation are given to volunteers as well as additional benefits depending on the length of service.
Seattle Center for Wooden Boats volunteer. Offering a hands-on one-of-a-kind experience with traditional maritime skills and equipment, this is a favorite destination in Seattle. Run by over 800 volunteers there is something for every volunteer from sailing boats to office work. After certain hours are met volunteers are rewarded with benefits including memberships, Discover Passes, free boat use, and more.
Seattle Museum of Flight volunteer. Seattle is home to the largest independent non-profit air and space museum in the world at this internationally recognized museum. As a non-profit volunteers are an integral part of day-to-day operations and help with education, tours, greeting guests, administrative tasks, docents, and more. Those who volunteer enjoy first-hand experience and education on aviation and visiting with guests from around the world.
Seattle NW Seaport Maritime Heritage Center volunteer. Located on Lake Union guests come to this maritime center to learn about maritime history throughout the PNW. This non-profit relief heavily on volunteers for greeting guests, maintaining the fleet, showing guests the boats, and more. Those who volunteer will enjoy experiencing this unique seaport center in a way unavailable to the public.
Seattle Wing Luke Museum volunteer. Wing Luke provides a unique chance for visitors to see what the area was like through the eyes of early Asian immigrants. Volunteers help throughout the museum including in administration, education, events such as auctions, research, graphic design, and more. Volunteer benefits include discounted and free admission, store discounts, and internship credit.
Seward Park Audubon volunteer. Education, fun and engaging programs, and helping people explore the incredible natural opportunities here in the northwest is at the heart of the Seward Park Audubon Center. Dozens of volunteers are needed to help the center run well acting as docents, teachers, restoration, children’s programs, and more. Ongoing education and opportunities for environmental protection are available to helpers.
Tacoma America’s Car Museum volunteer. Over 150,000 square feet serve as this international destination for vintage car lovers and vehicle enthusiasts alike. Docents, educators, pit crew, special events, and photographers are among the ways to get involved and volunteer. Get up close and personal with these incredible vehicles and enjoy ongoing training and other benefits year-round.
Tahoma Audubon volunteer. Striving to preserve nature and equal access to nature in Pierce County is the goal of The Tahoma Audubon Society. Volunteers will help out outreach, events, tours, field trips, environmental education, and more. Connect with others who love birding and nature and participate in ongoing education as a volunteer.
Farmers market volunteer opportunities
Volunteers at local farmers markets may assist with a variety of tasks including office administration, marketing outreach, market events (such as chef demos, tastings, and kids’ activities), and market day setup or cleanup duties. Your best bet is to contact a nearby market and inquire about their needs.
Library volunteer opportunities
Puget Sound libraries have on-going volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
(Listed alphabetically by city or location)
Everett Public Library volunteer. With two locations, the Everett Public Library serves as a valuable asset to Everett and surrounding communities. Volunteers are a huge help with cleaning and helping in the Northwest Room. Opportunities occasionally fill-up so check-in regularly.
King County Library System volunteer. The King County Library System maintains dozens of libraries throughout the region. Known as one of the busiest systems in the country volunteers help maintain the libraries through outreach opportunities, helping with daily operations, tutoring, talks, and more. Anniversary pins, certificates, and appreciation events are held for those who volunteer.
Seattle Public Library volunteer. Since 1891, Seattle Public Library has served Seattleites with access to a high-quality internationally recognized library system. Tutoring, book club facilitators, story time, and other opportunities are available for those looking to volunteer. SPL will also help connect you to other volunteer opportunities in the Seattle area.
Tacoma Public Library volunteer. Operating eight locations in the greater Tacoma area is the Tacoma Public Library. Helping at events and library programs, cleaning children’s books, and leading book discussions are among ways volunteers can help out.
More volunteer opportunities
Still more ways to volunteer, have fun, and meet people around the Puget Sound region.
Saving Great Animals (SGA) is a matchmaking rescue organization focused mainly on dogs in the Greater Seattle area. They work tirelessly to match the best pet to your family based on breed, lifestyle and other factors. More than 8500 dogs have been lovingly homed since 2007, with thanks to the dedicated all-volunteer team and foster homes for bringing new life to pets. There are various ways to help out with Saving Great Animals: qualified foster homes, volunteers to help with animals care, and volunteers at special events.
VolunteerMatch is an online search tool for finding volunteer opportunities near you that match your skills and interests.
AARP maintains a list of volunteer opportunities in your city. Visit their website and find AARP in your city to find out what’s available.
Also check with your local government for volunteer opportunities in a variety of areas, such as the parks departments, court system, public works, human services, and other services and events.