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For some people, community service is something they feel obligated to do. For others, it’s something that they feel passsionate about doing as a means to change the world. Those who are passionate about volunteering should consider picking up these four books to learn more about the world of volunteering and how they can make effective change.


Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists by Courtney E. Martin

In this book, the author follows eight young adults and looks at how younger generations are able to make a career out of making a difference in the world. Instead of looking at volunteerism through the typical “saving the world” lens, she instead examines how to build a meaningful life. The activists profiled in the book aren’t portrayed as selfless saviors, but instead as related, flawed people who are also inspiring change-makers.


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

If you would like to start your own non-profit or community organization, this book is a must-read. It provides a step-by-step guide with accompanying case studies to better illustrate the steps. In addition to the guide, the book also addressed dealing with issues in your community and how to position yourself as a leader. This includes advice on engaging volunteers, raising money, and organizing meetings.


The (Help!) I-Don’t-Have-Enough-Time Guide to Volunteer Management by Susan J. Ellis and Katherine Noyes

The most common reason many people don’t volunteer in their community is that they feel they have no time. This same lack of time applies to volunteer managers as well. This guide helps people in that position learn how to best communicate roles and responsibilities to a group of volunteers. Many people working in non-profit organizations are incredibly busy, which is why having strong time management skills are essential.


Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed by Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Patton

In this book, Westley, Zimmerman and Patton examine the ways in which change can be made in the world. The idea of one person making meaningful change on a complex issue seems impossible. While not everyone can be a leader on all issues, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make difference. The book highlights stories of people working to create progress and uses these stories to create guidelines for creating social change.