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Searching's search engine lets you look for Jobs, Internships, Volunteer opportunities, Action opportunities, People, Organizations, Events or Blog posts. You can search by keyword and by location, and then sort and/or filter your search results to get just the results you want.

You can start out your search in any combination of several ways:

  • By type: Click the Type selector on any page to choose what type of thing you're looking for (for instance, Jobs, or Internships, or Volunteer Opps). Then click "Search". You can also do this by clicking on the listing type directly beneath the Idealist logo (for instance, clicking on "Volunteer" starts a search for Volunteer Opportunities).
  • By keyword: Type a word or phrase into the "What?" search box on any page, then click "Search".
  • By location: you can start typing a location in the "Where?" search box on any page, then click on a suggestion, to search in a particular city, state, country, or region, then click "Search".

Use filters to refine your search 

Once you've clicked Search, search results will appear in the center of the page. On the left side of the search results, you'll see filters you can use to refine your search. For example, if you're searching for jobs, you'll be able to filter down to only see full-time jobs or jobs that require a four-year degree. If you're searching for volunteer opportunities, you can focus on the schedule that best matches the time you're free.

Want to receive a daily email with the new opportunities that match your criteria? Get Email Alerts! Log in or sign up, run your search, click the green "Save this search" button at the top of search results, and check the "Email me daily with new matches!" box.

Hone in on specific Areas of Focus and Job Categories 

Know what cause you want to support or work for or have a specific career in mind? Just run any search. On the left of your search results, you'll see the Areas of Focus box. Click the areas that interest you the most, and see the full list by clicking in the "Search the full list" box. Same goes for Job function which will appear on any job searches.

Want to receive a daily email with the new opportunities that match your criteria? Get Email Alerts! Log in or sign up, run your search, click the green "Save this search" button, and check the "Email me daily with new matches!" box.

Expand your search by increasing the distance option 

To search by radius from a specific location, you'll need to run a city-based search. To do so, just start typing your city location in the location box and select it from the type-ahead. On the left of your search results, you'll see the option to expand your search by a given mile radius. Note that this won't work if it's a county, metro area or state search-- for this, only cities will do.

Search by region 

To search for opportunities in a general geographic region, start by typing the name of the region from the list below in the location field of the search box and selecting it from the type-ahead.

  • Africa
  • Americas
  • Asia
  • Australasia
  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • Central Asia
  • Eastern Europe
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Micronesia
  • Middle East
  • North Africa
  • North America
  • Northern Europe
  • Oceania
  • Polynesia
  • South America
  • South East Asia
  • Southern Africa
  • Southern Europe
  • West Africa
  • Western Asia
  • Western Europe

What advanced search terms can I use? 

When entering terms in the search bar, you can use these search operators in the keywords box to improve your results:

Broaden your search (OR)

  • Example: tutor OR mentor would give you search results that mention either word, whereas tutor mentor would only give you results that mention both words.

Exclude a term using a minus sign (-)

  • Example: development -fundraising would give you all results related to development, unless they contain the term fundraising. Note that this only works if you have one term already: if you exclude a word but don't also have another word (e.g. "-fundraising" by itself), you won't get the results you want.

Glue words together with quotation marks ("")

  • Example: "young professionals" would include results such as Young Professionals of Chicago, but would exclude results such as Young Nonprofit Professionals Network or professionals working with young people. (Without the quotes, though, you'd get all three).

Complete a term with an asterisk (*)

  • Example: econom* would give you all results that contain the words economic, economical, economics, economist, or economy. Note that this only works at the end of a word (in other words, "econom*" works but "*omics" does not).

Clicking on the categories on the left side of the search results page will give you most of the advanced search capability you need. But if you want more detailed information about our search tool, see the Xapian Query Syntax page.

How are search results sorted?  

For most types of listings, if you've searched using keywords, your search results will most likely be sorted by "Relevance", which means that we've shown you the most relevant-to-your-keywords results first. Relevance sorting depends on the ratio of keywords to other words, which can sometimes be counter-intuitive (this depends on the total number of words, as well as how many of them are your keywords); it also prioritizes the text in the title of a listing.

Job listings will, by default, always be sorted by "Date Posted", which shows newest results on top. If you haven't searched by keyword, your search results will also be sorted this way regardless of what type of listing you've searched for. When this sorting method is active, the search is still matching your search criteria, but the order in which they appear will be based on newness.

You can re-sort your search results just by clicking the select box at the top of search results-- in addition to other options, this can show your results, for instance, by "Recently Modified". Once you've adjusted your sort settings, the website will remember them for the remainder of your visit.