How to choose a good volunteering opportunity?
Last updated on Thursday, 01/10/2020
The key to success is to choose a volunteering opportunity that matches your skills, interests and availability. Once this is clear, you can start your search for a quality volunteering opportunity.
Volunteering can be an unforgettable and rewarding experience, but with so many opportunities available it’s important to be careful with your choice. The quality of your experience will determine how you will benefit from this great human adventure.
Set your goals
There are many ways one can volunteer. You can volunteer in your community, online or on the other side of the planet. You can work with refugees, elderly people and children… or for instance help in disaster areas or with greening your environment. So many options!
Once you decide to volunteer, the first thing is to ask yourself:
- What are my goals and expectations?
- How much time do I have available?
- What kind of tasks would I like to undertake?
- Which skills can I offer?
Eurodesk has developed an online quiz to help you evaluate what’s the most suitable volunteering opportunity for you. At the end, different examples of programmes will be provided as a source of inspiration.
Look for opportunities
There are various organisations offering volunteering opportunities. The European Union offers you great opportunities to volunteer both at the local and international level with the European Solidarity Corps Programme. You can enrol in the programme if you are between 17 and 30 years old, but you must be at least 18 years old when joining a volunteering project. Once selected, everything is arranged for you!
If you want to embark on a new adventure and dedicate yourself to helping others, you can sign up for the European Solidarity Corps today! You can also search the database of accredited organisations to get the contact details of organisations which might be looking for volunteers for their projects or browse the different opportunities and apply directly from the site. Still not clear about what type of activity to go for? Take the European Solidarity Corps quiz!
On the web, you will also find private organisations proposing programmes to volunteer abroad, be aware that some can be very expensive.
Here are some interesting organisations and databases of volunteering opportunities:
- Eurodesk: opportunities for young people
- Service Civil International: volunteering for peace
- WWOOF: a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers
- WWF Young Adult Volunteer & Internship Programme
Do background checks
You will find a lot of different opportunities on the Internet, as there are many organisations that would welcome your help. However, you should make sure that these organisations are reliable. There are hundreds of websites out there for organisations that no longer exist, never really existed or just do not do the work they claim to do. Even if you see an advert on a dedicated volunteering website, you should remember that these websites are not accountable for the credibility of the organisations that advertise about them.
In short, you should always investigate an organisation, not only by visiting its website but also by speaking with its staff, to find out what the organisation is trying to accomplish and how their volunteering programme works. Reliable organisations won’t have any problem answering all of your questions and putting you in contact with previous volunteers.
Bear in mind that even if you have chosen an opportunity that seemed perfect in a trustworthy organisation, things still need time to run smoothly and you should be patient. Not every volunteer mission is right for every volunteer, and while one assignment may not be ideal for you, there will be dozens of others that meet your needs and expectations.
The European Volunteer Center (CEV) has published a toolkit to help you evaluate volunteering opportunities. It would come in handy, during the decision process, in order to find the most suitable action to take.