Volunteering Opportunities

Article modified: October 2016, Author:


UK volunteering agencies and ideas

  • NCVO (merged with Volunteering England) can put you in touch with your local Volunteer Centre if you can’t find it in the phone book. The network is over 400 strong, and the local organisations have registers of volunteer openings for their area.
  • Volunteering Wales from WCVA is a bi-lingual web site to help prospective volunteers in the country.
  • Volunteer Scotland has a volunteer activities search facility online. Also check Volunteer Centre Edinburgh.
  • Volunteer Now is Northern Ireland’s version.
  • Do-it online database of volunteering opportunities has thousands of vacancies available across the UK. Major website revamp December 2014, and also see (new June 2014) web app Re:act.
  • vinspired is the volunteering site for 16 – 25 year olds in England set up with government support.
  • TimeBank Volunteering mentoring projects, youth, employee volunteering.
  • Join In is an official London 2012 Games legacy charity, connecting people with local community sports clubs across the UK who need their help.
  • Charity Choice has a volunteering section which allows you to post details of skills, availability etc.
  • Help From Home: home based microvolunteer actions.
  • For an alternative to ‘straight’ volunteering, check out the TimeMoney and LETS concepts under our Social Economy listings.

Professional/employee volunteering

  • REACH “the skilled volunteering charity” for experienced managers and professionals.
  • Give What You’re Good At matches professionals who want to give their skills with charities that need them.
  • Career Volunteer, launched June 2014, identifies “highly skilled and capable professionals with time available to help charities with discreet, one off consultancy style projects on a pro bono basis”.
  • Resonate Connect is a web platform matching skilled volunteers to good causes, launched for Greater Manchester in April 2015.
  • GoProBono is a new “super hub” (June 2014) for professional skills-based volunteering.
  • neighbourly (new 2014) is a “social network which connects community projects and charities with companies ready to help” – time as well as money.
  • Benefacto has the sole aim of getting more employee volunteers contributing to the community, by making it easier to match volunteer and charity.
  • Other employer supported volunteering schemes exist around the country. See other ‘pro bono’ projects on the Consultancy page.

International

Mainly through UK based organisations (generally those featured here are charities or non-profit businesses – there are quite a few commercially run companies offering ‘volunteering’).

  • Ethical Volunteering How to avoid being part of the problem, rather than actually helping.
  • World Service Enquiry. An agency offering information and advice about working and volunteering in the developing world, used by organisations such as SCF, VSO, DIFD, CAFOD. Our original notes said ‘for emergency disaster and relief vacancies’.
  • VESL, a registered charity sends volunteers on 4-24 week projects in Asia (Sri Lanka, India and Thailand), on education and community development projects.
  • People and Places emphasises responsible volunteering, in Peru, India, Indonesia , Nepal and The Gambia (not currently Pakistan). Their work is externally audited and has won a responsible ttourism award.
  • Challenges Worldwide recruits, trains and manages volunteers with professional business or legal experience to undertake 3 to 6 month placements with partner organisations overseas.
  • UNA Exchange, based in Cardiff, has a number of different volunteering programmes open to UK residents, including international and leadership opportunities.
  • Online Volunteering is managed by United Nations Volunteer programme, and allows volunteers to help organisations that serve communities in developing countries.
  • ConnectYouth promotes exchanges of young people between the United Kingdom and other countries.
  • Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange, a registered charity, has a range of NGO projects requiring long-term assistance, from working with street children to protecting indigenous people‚Äôs rights, in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and other countries around the world. A participation fee applies – ICYE will support you in fundraising for this cost.
  • Cross-Cultural Solutions. Volunteer placements with “dynamic and inspiring community-led Partner Programs” across 12 countries, with year-round start dates and from 1 to 12 weeks long.
  • Lattitude Global Volunteering (was GAP Activity Projects) organises gap year work placements for 17 to 25 year-olds in 34 countries. Volunteers can take part in caring, conservation, teaching, outdoor, schools and medical projects for between 4 and 12 months. Phone 0118 959 4914.
  • Also See: Guardian Travel section gap year pages, including list of useful sites.
  • Year Out Group has a page of information on “things to consider when choosing a programme”.
  • Working Abroad humanitarian, teaching and environmental volunteer projects worldwide.
  • The Project Trust is aimed at ‘gap year’ volunteering.
  • Idealist (American based) has links and search facilities on international volunteering opportunities. Can sign up for info on/post volunteering opportunities directly.
  • Younger people with an international urge could try WorldWide Volunteering. For 16 to 25 year olds.



Organisations with frequent
Volunteering Opportunities

These can include work experience or short-term (low paid) assignments.

  • Conservation in the field with TCV (The Conservation Volunteers).
  • Chance UK London based mentoring organisation for children from 5 – 11 years old who are at risk of school or social exclusion. Train men and women of all backgrounds to build on the child’s strengths and listen to individual needs. Volunteers are police checked, closely supervised and supported. Contact James Bynner, Volunteer Recruitment Officer, on 020 7281 5858 ext 201, email: vol@chanceuk.com
  • Children in Crisis Reaching out to forgotten children.
  • Citizens Advice is the largest independent advice-giving network in the world (the CABx). They provide free, confidential, impartial, independent advice to everyone and have volunteering opportunities in a wide range of roles – advisers, campaigners, trustees, IT, admin, fundraising, PR – across England and Wales.
  • Crisis, the homelessness charity, has volunteering opportunities around the country, all year.
  • Greenforce Always need volunteers for help with (international) wildlife survey work.
  • Kith and Kids needs volunteers to support children and adults with a range of disabilities to take part in a fun leisure and creative activities.

Overseas placements

  • VSO Voluntary Services Overseas have various opportunities, such as managers to help people in the world’s poorest countries build successful organisations and businesses.
  • BESO, a development agency that offers the professional expertise of volunteers as advisers to organisations in less developed communities worldwide, seems to have merged with VSO International.
  • Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange “offers exciting voluntary work placements in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe. Projects include orphanages, human rights organisations, arts, education and environmental work. For those between 18 and 30, available July / August for 6 or 12 months.” You should apply 4-10 months before departure. Placements are self-funded – help with fund-raising is given. More information on website.
  • International Voluntary Service Volunteering opportunities on more than 800 short term workcamp projects in more than 45 countries including UK, North Africa, USA, former Soviet Union, all of Europe, Australia and Japan. Volunteers work in international groups on projects of importance to local communities for 2 to 4 weeks. Food and accommodation provided but volunteers must organise and pay for their own travel.
  • RedR (Engineers for Disaster Relief) maintains a register of professionals who can respond to short-term needs of relief agencies.
  • Skillshare Africa is a charity currently working in six African countries – Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa – with the aim of sustainable development. One of the ways in which they work towards this is through the sharing of skills (hence the name).
  • Village Africa Volunteering in Tanzania.
  • Restless Development is a “youth-led development agency” (previously.Student Partnerships Worldwide) based in Africa and Asia working with and for young people.
  • World Youth International (Australian but operating internationally) offers a range of overseas volunteer and exchange programs for people from 14 up for periods from 1 month to a year, in Asia, Africa, North and South America. Volunteers can work on community development projects, teach English or help create income generating projects in villages.
  • Global Volunteer Network (based in New Zealand) places people in community projects in China, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, Romania, and Uganda. Volunteers can be involved in educational and community aid projects by teaching English, environmental work, health and sanitation, and cultural home stays.
  • Department for International Development Web site includes, under Working with NGOs, contact details of the volunteer programmes they support (currently VSO, Skillshare Africa, ICD (connected to CIIR), UNAIS).

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