So what’s in it for you?
Well you won’t get rich financially – but you’ll get rich in many other ways
- Learning new skills
- Reduce your own stress
- Combat depression
- Mentally and/or physically stimulating
- Provides a sense of purpose
- Helps other people
- Makes you feel better about yourself
- Great for your resume
- Benefit your community
- Make new friends
Whatever your motivation for volunteering and no matter what your interests are, there will be a way you can get involved with something that matters to you, and that will also make a positive difference to you.
Skills you could gain or improve on
Include but not limited to:
- Industry-related skills
- The ability to work in a team
- Problem solving and adaptability
- Communicating with clients and stakeholders
- The ability to plan and prioritise work
- Sales skills
- Time management
- Report writing
- Improved interpersonal skills.
Not sure where to start?
Here are some ideas for places to volunteer your time:
Passionate about the environment? There are lots of environmental projects out there that want and need your help.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- Conservation Volunteers Australia
- Greening Australia
- Trees for Life
Look for projects happening in your area. River or beach clean ups, tree planting days, wildlife rescue and much more; once you start looking you’ll be amazed at the number of opportunities for you to get involved.
There are also lots of organisations that work to educate people about environmental causes.
Become a qualified wild life carer (you might have to be 18 or older – in which case how about encouraging a parent or older sibling to get involved and you can help them out?) Speak to WIRES, Australian Fauna Care, or your local association to find out more.
Maybe you are keen to help out with the conservation of some of Australia’s threatened species, in which care Conservation Volunteers Australia would be a great starting point.
Local Animal Shelters like the RSCPA might need people to help clean out the animals cages, chop up food or even walk the dogs.
You could also contact local vets in your area and see if they are interested in letting you volunteer with them. It would be a great way to get some insight if you’re thinking of becoming a Vet or Vet Nurse later down the track.
Check out ideas that you can do from home, for example the Aussie Backyard Bird Count.
How about getting up close and personal with a few more exotic animals? Zoo’s often have volunteer programmes, so it’s always worth contacting them to find out more. You can even volunteer at Australia Zoo.
There are also plenty of opportunities for you to get involved with animal conservation projects both in Australia and overseas, however as a volunteer you are usually expected to cover the cost of your transport, accommodation and meals. But if you’re really keen and you have some money to spend then you could look at GoEco, Oceans2Earth, and World Animal Protection to give you some ideas about locations and costs.
Want to meet more people and make a positive impact on their lives?
If you’d rather help out young people, organisations like Kids Giving Back (Sydney based) might be just what you’re after. You can also ask at school to be part of the mentoring program, or speak to local sports clubs and volunteer to help train some of the kids.
Events often require huge amounts of volunteers to get them off the ground (and if you’re considering a future in Events then you really need to get the experience), plus it’s a fun way of getting to an event without having to participate (Iron Man for example ) or pay. Look for local events happening in your area and sign up as a volunteer on their website or call their office to enquire.
If Politics is your thing, then contact your local councillors, state or federal representatives and ask them if there’s any way you can get involved as a volunteer.
Fund-raising is a really important function for most organisations, especially the charities. So if there are no opportunities for volunteering for certain organisations, then you could work with them to organise your own fund-raiser and donate the money to their cause. Your school and clubs will most likely have their own fund raising events, be sure to get on board with them.
Schools have plenty of opportunities to volunteer, both within the school – mentoring, helping with special projects and outside in the community too. Chat to your teacher or principal about how you can help them out.
You’ve got nothing to lose
With so many choices and with so many benefits, why wouldn’t you consider giving volunteering a go?
If you don’t enjoy it then you can always try something else (once your commitment is complete), and you never know where it could lead you.