Find Your Cause

Why you should get involved

Community engagement is one of the best ways to build new skills, deepen your learning, and develop the leadership abilities your future employers will value.

Among many other things, a service project can help you:

  • grow your understanding of the world and your role in it
  • develop your voice as an engaged, socially responsible citizen
  • gain hands-on experience
  • test your skills and interests in potential career paths
  • build a professional network

Questions you should be prepared to answer

  • What topics interest you?
  • Where do you want to serve?
  • How much time do you have to dedicate to a cause?
  • What kind of skills would you like to develop?
  • What skills can you offer?
  • Do you want or need to earn course credit for your time?

Causes by topic and sub-topic

Explore the causes you care about.

Specialized cause areas include:

  • arts and culture
  • media and communications
  • visual arts
  • museums
  • performing arts
  • humanities
  • historical organizations
  • arts services

Specialized cause areas include:

  • elementary and secondary schools
  • vocational and technical schools
  • higher education
  • graduate and professional schools
  • adult education
  • libraries
  • student services
  • educational services 

Private nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is to preserve, protect and improve the environment.

Specialized cause areas include:

  • pollution abatement and control
  • natural resources conservation and protection
  • botanical, horticultural and landscape services
  • environmental beautification
  • environmental education
  • animal protection and welfare
  • wildlife preservation and protection
  • veterinary services
  • zoos and aquariums

Specialized cause areas include:

  • health - general and rehabilitative
    • hospitals
    • ambulatory and primary health care
    • reproductive health care
    • rehabilitative care
    • health support
    • public health
    • nursing
  • mental health and crisis intervention substance abuse dependency, prevention and treatment
    • mental health treatment, hot lines, and crisis intervention
    • addictive disorders
    • counseling
  • disease, disorders, medical disciplines - preventative, treatment, or research
    • birth defects and genetic diseases
    • cancer
    • diseases

Specialized cause areas include:

  • crime, legal
    • crime prevention
    • correctional facilities
    • rehabilitation services
    • administration of justice
    • law enforcement
    • protection against and prevention of neglect, abuse, and exploitation
    • legal services
  • employment
    • employment preparation and procurement
    • vocational rehabilitation
    • labor unions
  • food, agriculture, and nutrition
  • housing, shelter
  • public safety, disaster preparedness, and relief
  • recreation, sports, leisure, and athletics
  • youth development
  • human services
    • children and youth services
    • family services
    • personal social services
    • emergency assistance (food, clothing, cash)
    • residential, custodial care
    • independent living for specific populations

Organizations whose primary purpose is to provide services or other forms of support to increase mutual understanding across countries, encourage social, economic or political development outside of the U.S., and/or impact national, multilateral or international policies on international issues.

Specialized cause areas include:

  • international development, relief services
  • international peace and security
  • international human rights

Specialized cause areas include:

  • civil rights, social action and advocacy
    • intergroup and race relations
    • voter education and registration
    • civil liberties
  • community improvement and capacity building
    • community and neighborhood development
    • economic development
    • business and industry
    • nonprofit management
    • community service clubs
  • philanthropy, voluntarism, and grantmaking
  • science and technology research institutes
  • social science research institutes
  • public and societal benefit
    • government and public administration
    • military and veterans organizations
    • publi transportation systems
    • telecommunications
    • financial institutions
    • leadership development
    • public utilities
    • consumer protection

Specialized cause areas include:

  • religious media, communications organizations
  • Buddhist
  • Christian (Protestant, Roman Catholic)
  • Hindu
  • Islamic
  • Interfaith
  • Jewish

Specialized cause areas include:

  • insurance providers and services
  • pension and retirement funds
  • fraternal societies

Think about the types of interaction you’re comfortable with

Direct service

Your service directly affects the individual receiving the service—for example, serving as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters, or serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for area children.

Project-based service

You’ll work on broad, community-identified issues that can increase the capacity of organizations to achieve and address goals; for example, supporting social media or fundraising efforts for a nonprofit agency. This type of project does not typically involve working directly with those receiving the service. 

Mentored research

Working with faculty and community mentors, you'll gather, analyze, and present information on areas of interest and need—for example, conducting research on the environmental impact of waste at IU football games.


You’ll help educate others about issues that affect people’s lives to generate awareness and action. For example, advocating for an agency that supports and empowers adults with developmental disabilities, like Stone Belt.