How Do I Use Your Search Engine?

If this is your first time using Idealist’s search engine, welcome!
For more advanced filtering options, check out our Advanced Filtering article.

Idealist's search engine lets you look for Jobs, Internships, Volunteer Opportunities, and Organizations. By default, Idealist's homepage will detect your device's location (unless you've signed in and changed your default location) and will show you all organization profiles and all types of opportunities in and near that location. By using the filtering options above (or, if you are visiting from a mobile device, by using the “More Filters” button), you can narrow down your search.

When you first come to the Idealist page, you can organize and filter your search results by:
or any combination of each!

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To start searching by keywords, click on the white bar that says “Search by keyword, skill, or interest” and start typing in a word or phrase.
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Once you click the “Search” button, you’ll be brought to your results. If you are searching for a specific phrase, just add quotations around the word or phrase. For example: “Assistant” or “Assistant Director.” This will remove any related search results that don’t contain the exact word and phrase you’re looking for.

If you're looking to exclude certain search terms, just put a minus sign (-) in front of the word (ex: "-assistant"). When excluding multiple search terms, be sure to add a comma (,) at the end of the excluded word (ex: "-assistant, -teacher"), or the results will appear empty. You can enter any search terms you would like to appear before or after the excluded word(s) without needing to add a comma at the end of them.

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Once you’ve entered a keyword and pressed the “Search” button, you’ll see new options to sort by Best Match or Newest. It will default to the Best Match option, which uses any options and filters you've selected to display the listings that most closely match what you're looking for. The more closely they match your search criteria, the higher on the list they will be. If you click on Newest, Idealist will use the options you've selected to display listings that match what you're looking for, but will primarily order them by date they were posted.

You can use the Location Bar to specify what area you’d like your search results to show.
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The location in the bar will default to the detected location. To remove the location and open the search location to everywhere, just click on the “x” on the right side of the bar.
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To enter a more specific location, click on the center of the bar and begin typing your location. As you type, you will see locations begin to appear in a dropdown menu. Be sure to click on one of these locations in the dropdown menu in order to lock in the location. If you do not see your specific location in the dropdown list, try clicking on the closest location suggested. You must click on one of these suggestions or the system will not lock in your location and the search results will not change.


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Like the Best Match or Newest filter, once you have selected a location in the dropdown options of the Location bar, you’ll see a new option at the top of the filters to the left of the screen to search by Distance. It will autofill fill a default radius of the location you have selected, but this can be adjusted by selecting another option from the dropdown menu.
*Tip* If you are looking to remove the Distance filter altogether, you can click the “x” on the right side of the location bar to search everywhere.
One of the first filters you’ll see will be the will be the option to narrow down your results by the Issue Areas.
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The search results default to All, but you can select any number of the other checkboxes to display organizations that have selected one or more of the selected areas of focus. Click on the “More” button to show all current available issue areas.

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This filter narrows down the search results by the type of organization listed. The search results default to All, but you can click on any number of checkboxes to customize your search results.  For more information about our different types of organizations, check out the What organizations can post on Idealist? article.

To further narrow down your search, we also offer more advanced filtering options. Please visit our Advanced Filtering article for more information on these.
Good luck in your search!