Check with your probation officer, your court liaison, a teacher at your school, or whomever has assigned you with community service to find out what is and isn't allowed.It is your responsibility to understand the court's or school's or university's requirements for documenting your community service.
Volunteering with nonprofit organizations with religious affiliations, such as Habitat for Humanity or the Boy Scouts of America, is usually permitted, but check with your probation officer, your court liaison, a teacher at your school, or whomever has assigned you with community service to make sure.
Note that you do not have to express any religious affiliation or a belief in God to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, but you DO have to express a belief in God in order to volunteer for the Boy Scouts (and note that you do NOT have to profess any religious faith to volunteer with the Girl Scouts of the USA).
You may also be permitted to volunteer with a for-profit company if that company provides services to the community and involves volunteers, such as a for-profit hospital, a for-profit hospice or a for-profit retirement community (but not a restaurant, a motorcycle shop, a computer store, a pet store, etc.).
Check with your probation officer, your court liaison, a teacher at your school, or whomever has assigned you with community service to make sure before you begin working with such an organization.
This is advice to help you get started as quickly as possible and have you finished as soon as possible.
This advice also might help you turn this experience from a "have to" into a "want to", into something that will benefit YOU.Helping family with tasks (taking your grandmother to the grocery, cleaning your mother's house, baby sitting your sister's kids, etc.) will probably NOT be accepted as your community service.Volunteering for an organization promoting a cause that is considered political may or may not be allowed: Volunteering with a nonprofit that advocates for foreign languages to be taught in schools or that helps to register voters might be allowed while volunteering for a political party probably will not be.At the time you have to provide documentation on your volunteering, present this documentation that shows all that you did to find volunteering activities; it should be a list of at least 50 organizations.Your teacher or probation officer or judge may or may not give you an extension to get your hours, but they most certainly will NOT if you don't have this documentation ready to share with them.It is your responsibility to make prior arrangements with each organization where you wish to volunteer and to ask if they are able to meet your documentation requirements.An organization has every right to fire you / let you go as a volunteer, no matter how urgently you need to complete your community service.Your mandated community service probably cannot be done to benefit a community of faith (churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc.).Check with your probation officer, your court liaison, a teacher at your school, or whomever has assigned you with community service to make sure your service is going to be accepted before you begin working with such an organization.These companies are unethical at best and illegal at worst (at least one person has been arrested and convicted for running such a scam).What to Say When You Contact an Organization When you contact an organization to inquire about service hours, don't say immediately, "I have to have so many hours of community service." Say, instead, "I want to volunteer with your organization and want to know how I can get started right away." That is not lying - you will tell the organization about your community service obligation at a far more appropriate time.