There may be as many forms of volunteering as there are willing people seeking to help. Volunteering for a ‘green’ project or in a specific country can be researched in a variety of publications (soon outdated in a fast moving world) and via web sites or better still via personal contacs. The bigger charities often use volunteers by the thousands whilst solo efforts can make a significant local impact. The smaller and international projects in less developed areas may need a bit more research but are often challenging yet fulfilling.
Some Types of Volunteering
- Voluntary Work in Nature Conservation
- Humanitarian and Development volunteering
- Wildlife & Conservation volunteering
- Archaeological and Heritage volunteering
- Wildlife rehabilitation
Gap year projects tend towards the short term whilst green volunteering may need a longer commitment. Certainly many of the projects and needs are permanent or long lasting.
Tips for Overseas & Project Volunteering
- Research the organisation and project thoroughly using due diligence.Try to assess integrity, financial stability and the commitment of the organisations.
- Contact previous and current volunteers. Try to ascertain the nature of the work to be performed and the onsite management if any.
- Most ‘projects’ require a contribution from the volunteer. It may be the main source of finance for the project and seeks to cover the cost of food and lodgings and some overheads. Small projects in developing areas may be free of cost but they are hard to find and will certainly exclude airfares.
- Those with special skills, like vets or sanitation engineers, may be reimbursed living expenses or be externally charity funded.
- The longer the volunteering term the more valuable the volunteer and less contribution may be expected.
- Communication can be crucial to a successful project. Cultural barriers can be as significant as language barriers and are not to be underestimated.
- Do not show up at a location in advance. Prepare, contact the organisers in advance and optimise your own time and efforts.
Some Links & Contacts
Charity as a career in our resources.
Wildlife rehabilitation is the treatment and care of injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals so that they can be released back to the wild. British Wildlife Rehabilitation
From Pandas in China and Sea Turtles in Mexico to a reforestation project in Tanzania where you can help arrest the decline in Tanzania’s forests there are thousands different projects and opportunities available around the world. Conservation volunteering
The National Volunteer Center is a branch of the English Opens Doors Program and is supported by the United Nations Development Programme-Chile.
Beach cleaning with Marine Conservation
Laddr – Volunteering a volunteering app
Good Governance link page to training and development
Volunteering Matters Registered in England and Wales as a charity, number 291222 and in Scotland as charity number SC039171
Better a volunteer than a pressed worker
Go for it – dive in and do your best!
Don’t expect anything, keep an open mind and get ready for hard work