Recommended Reads

There are many wonderful books to read about what it means to be a volunteer. Here are some of our favorites.


Building Powerful Community Organizations: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups that Can Solve Problems and Change the World 
by Michael Jacoby Brown

Intended for individuals who want to start, strengthen, or revitalize a group to address a community issue, this indispensable guide includes a series of practical steps that help build a successful community organization and offers sample cases that more clearly illustrate each step. In addition to addressing common problems that are often encountered, the book also discusses how to run engaging meetings, recruit and motivate community members, raise necessary funds, and turn a passion into a powerful tool for social change.

The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook
by Shannon O’Donnell

The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook guides new and veteran travelers through the challenges of finding, vetting, and choosing their ideal volunteer experience. First-hand stories, photos, and practical advice help interested volunteers find meaningful ways to give back to communities all over the world–through volunteering, but also through social enterprises and supporting sustainable tourism practices.

The Voluntourist: A Six-Country Tale of Love, Loss, Fatherhood, Fate, and Singing Bon Jovi in Bethlehem
by Ken Budd

Ken Budd’s The Voluntourist is a remarkable memoir about losing your father, accepting your fate, and finding your destiny by volunteering around the world for numerous worthy causes: Hurricane Katrina disaster relief in New Orleans, helping special needs children in China, studying climate change in Ecuador, lending a hand—and a heart—at a Palestinian refugee camp in the Middle East, to name but a few. Ken’s emotional journey is as inspiring and affecting as those chronicled in Little Princes and Three Cups of Tea. At once a true story of powerful family bonds, of sacrifice, of self-discovery, The Voluntourist is an all-too-human, real-life hero whom you will not soon forget.


The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, Social Action
by Cathryn Berger Kaye

A treasury of activities, ideas, and resources, The Complete Guide to Service Learning can help teachers and youth workers engage young hearts and minds in reaching out and giving back. Author, and internationally known service learning expert, Cathryn Berger Kaye presents service learning—its importance, steps, essential elements, and challenges—within a curricular context.

Why Volunteers Get All the Breaks
by Eric B. Barnes

There is so much advice available on how to be the ideal job prospect. There are so many advertisements on the latest hot new careers. Between all this is the long, frustrating cycle of unemployment for which there is no end in sight. And as if it couldn’t get worse, there are countless get-rich-quick schemers who are interested not in your success, but their own personal profits. But there is hope. My book aims to encourage you to consider volunteering as a way to get your foot in the door, as a way to get your products and services in front of the people instead of going through the middlemen. This is not volunteering as a way to be a noble individual. This is volunteering as a way to take control of your own destiny. Stop begging employers to give you a job. Stop begging people to give your business venture a chance. Get out there, let someone try you out by offering a free sample, and then get paid from quality products and services I know you have to offer.