Complexities of volunteering
If you are interested in volunteering, you must be aware of the relevant regulations so you and the organization for which you are volunteering do not violate any laws for unauthorized employment. F-1 and J-1 students that are working off-campus must be authorized do so. Without proper work authorization, off-campus employment would be considered a violation of your F-1 or J-1 requirements. The consequences may include loss of valid immigration status in the USA—making it difficult to reacquire lawful status in the future.
According to USA immigration regulations, 8 Code of Federal Regulations 214.1(e): “Any unauthorized employment by a nonimmigrant constitutes a failure to maintain status…”