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Resources

Find a volunteer role

What is student volunteering?

Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.

It is a choice made by you to make a difference. Volunteering is about supporting non-profits or community groups by willingly giving your time, skills and enthusiasm to become involved and take action on issues that are important to you.


Volunteering has so many benefits for you & the community

  • Professional development
    • Gain valuable work experience
    • Learn new skills for your future job/career or develop employable skills (i.e. punctuality and understanding workplace requirements)
    • Network references for your CV
    • Build industry connections and networks 
  • Personal development
    • Feel good knowing your work makes a difference
    • Build your confidence
    • Act on your values, passions and interests
    • Enjoy new social and cultural experiences
    • Improve your physical and mental health
    • Bring some of your own insights and ideas into the community
    • Have fun!
  • Make an impact in your community
  • Help not-for-profit organisations enhance and extend their cause
  • Spread the word and increase awareness of important issues
  • Raise funds to support the work of volunteer organisations and causes
  • Improve other people’s quality of life, both directly (face-to-face care) or indirectly (behind the scenes, supporting the people on the front line)
  • Give as little or as much time as you want
  • Encourage other volunteers
  • Recognise other volunteer and volunteer organisations' contributions
  • Share your story on social media or with friends and family
  • Promote inclusion and diversity

Other perks:

  • Free training and learn new skills
  • Freebies (i.e. tickets, food and drink, an event shirt)*
  • Change the world!

*Applies only to certain events, usually in volunteer position description or email organiser direct to confirm

Many nonprofits are comprised entirely of volunteers, and many important services wouldn’t be provided if it wasn’t for their vital contribution.

 


What areas can you volunteer in?

There are so many ways you can choose to volunteer.

Cause   Example of an organisation  How you could make a difference

Animal Welfare

RSPCA is a community based charity that works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. Over the past 10 years, they have adopted, reunited with their owners or released into the wild 701,943 animals.

  • Volunteer animal care assistant: experience hands on work with animals, (i.e. cleaning pens, walking animals and providing animals opportunities to interact with other animals).
  • Community engagement volunteer: Represent RSPCA at various offsite events, engaging with the public to promote and facilitate animals available for adoption.

Ending Domestic and Family Violence

Reachout.com provides specifically targeted information to help any young person who visits the service. When they visit the site, a young person will be guided to practical tools designed just for their needs, even when they don’t know what their looking for.

  • Youth Ambassador: be part of a national team working to make sure the service stays relevant and accessible. For example by engaging in fundraising events and participating in media interviews.
  • Peer Moderator: Work exclusively online on the forums to keep the online community safe and supportive. For example, providing support to a member or hosting monthly chats with mental health experts.

Stopping racism

All Together Now aims to prevent racism by promoting racial equality through education.

  • Graphic Designer: Assist the organisation with graphic design work, such as communications for print and web (i.e. posters and flyers) and drawing and printing charts, illustrations and other artwork.
  • Website Manager: Assist with the smooth operation of the website, for example running security updates, optimising google adverts and advising on technical improvements.

LGBTQI+ rights and social justice

The LGBT helpline provides access to a network of trained volunteers who provide listening support and information services for LGBT people as well as their family and friends.

  • Call Centre: You’ll receive full training, and the work is very rewarding and only requires 6 hours a month.

Democracy

GetUp is working towards a thriving democracy in Australia led by the values and hopes of everyday people. They envisage a fair, flourishing and just Australia.

  • Join the campaigning community. GetUp members come from every walk of life and campaign on issues that members care about in the field of environmental justice, human rights, economic fairness and democracy. You chose the issues you want to work on.

Gender equality

YWCA Australia is a women-led organisation that achieves positive change by providing advocacy, programs and services for women, families and communities. There are 12 YWCA associations thoughout Australia.

  • You can visit your state's YWCA organisation’s website to register your interest in volunteering. Opportunities can arise thought the year, for example volunteering at a fundraising event or participating in an advocacy campaign.

Climate control

Climate for Change is a volunteered-powered, not-for-profit organisation on a mission to increase the number of people concerned about, and prepared to act on climate change.

  • Sign up and host a conversation for change. It starts with a host who can invite friends into their home - conversation is focused around climate change issues. The host will provide food and drinks and a trained facilitator does the rest!

Supporting the homeless

Lighthouse Foundation provides homeless people from backgrounds of long-term neglect and abuse, with a home, a sense of family and all-around-the-clock therapeutic care. Through their Lighthouse experiences, young people can heal, learn again to relate to others and start to rebuild their lives.

  • Interested in joining a committee? Each Community Committee supports a specific Lighthouse home, its young people and carers by:
  • Fundraising: Each committee organises approximately four fundraising ventures each year including; dinners, trivia nights, golf days, football clinics and BBQs raising funds to support their home's ongoing operating costs. 

Emergency services

State Emergency Services (SES) is an Australian volunteer organisation that provides emergency help during and after declared disasters, with each state having its own service. The (SES) respond to natural disasters, such as; storms, cyclones, earthquakes, and floods.

 

 

  • What volunteers do and how to join: Volunteers make themselves available for call out to emergencies when required, depending on their individual skills. There are many roles that volunteers can participate in. Be sure to check your residing state below on opportunities you maybe interested in. 
 

Community health and education

Nutrition Australia is a non-profit community based-organisation that aims to promote the health and well-being of all Australians. The range of services offered by the organisation include; food industry consultancies and menu assessments.

 

 

  • Why become a volunteer? Working with the organisation will give you the opportunity to expand your skills in a wide range of areas, and will give you valuable insight into the operation of a health and well-being based non-profit organisation. Some examples of services offered that volunteers can get involved with include: displays, workshops and seminars.


You may choose to get involved in one off events, short-term specialist projects or long-term roles.


It's important that you choose a role that's a good match for you

Our purpose is to make you think differently, take your mind off your day and give you something to mull over. Every aspect you learn will help you to exceed your career.

As a volunteer you can learn things out of your field. This might help you straighten out some aspects of your future because of what you have learnt as a volunteer. Volunteering is a wonderful experience and not only does it sharpen your talents but can also give you a taste of working in the industry of your choosing. It also grants you the opportunity to work outside of the box, by adapting work fields not necessarily related to your course. Volunteering can help impact your future and broaden your horizons.

Some examples that will make you thing out of the box are:

  • Marketing and Neurology: Called Neuromarketing. This example of fusion will help you to be more accurate in your marketing investigations.
  • Architect and Animal Welfare: This combination might give you more ideas at the moment of inspiration in your projects. This could help you to think about minimalist ideas or to build up thinking unselfishly.
  • Communication and help line: When you communicate every aspect counts. Label, size, expression, voice, message and others. Get some experience helping your community and put into practice the theory you may learn through your study.

The list below compiles what opportunities are most suited to you.

Agriculture and environment

  • Companionship and social support
  • Education and training
  • Garden maintenance
  • Retail and sales

Architecture and planning

  • Work with animals
  • Trades and maintenance
  • Marketing, media and communication
  • Retail and sales

Arts, communication, and society

  • Music and entertainment
  • Sports and recreation
  • Meditation and advocacy
  • Disability support
  • Help line
  • Marketing, media and communication

Business and economics

  • Second language
  • Writing and editing
  • Trades and maintenance
  • Retail and sales
  • Research, policy and analysis
  • Fundraising and events
  • Administration and office management
  • Accounting and finance
  • Marketing, media and communication

Education

  • Childcare
  • Education and training
  • Library service
  • Research, policy and analysis

Engineering and information technology

Everything is moving around technology, so the majority of volunteers are suitable. Each area needs improvement in technology. Be creative and proactive to break your boundaries.

  • IT and web development
  • Web design
  • Computer support IT
  • Communication leaders
  • Trades and maintenance

Health and behavioural sciences

  • Aged care
  • Disability support
  • Companionship and social support
  • Counselling and help line
  • Working with animals
  • Safety and emergency services

Law

  • Disability support
  • Research, policy and analysis
  • Mediation and advocacy
  • Governance, board and committee
  • Legal aid
  • Legal administration

Medicine

  • Aged care
  • Disability support
  • Companionship and social support
  • Counselling and help line
  • Working with animals
  • Safety and emergency services
  • Emergency volunteer or extraordinary events

Science and mathematics

  • Education and training
  • Tutoring
  • Research, policy and analysis
  • Governance, board and committee

Here are a few questions you should consider:

  • What are my motivations for volunteering?
  • Is there a cause that is close to my heart?
  • Are there particular skills I want to contribute or learn?
  • How much time can I commit?

For more on what to think about before volunteering, view Volunteering Australia's useful resources. You will find info on understanding your rights, visas, background checks, screening, checklists and lots more.

You can download our powerpoint on student volunteering for advice on how best to approach a nonprofit.

Another useful resource is the Volunteering to Learn Good Practice Guide for Students which covers how to find out about volunteering opportunities, insights about volunteer-involving organisations and identifies common challenges and what might be done to overcome them.


Be a changemaker & make the most impact

The key to being an intuitive volunteer is to trust yourself, have fun and enjoy the process!

Volunteer in a space that you believe in

In order to be genuine in your service as a volunteer, you should find a cause, group or organisation that resonates deeply with you. There are many externalities that demand our attention and pull us in different directions, however, finding a space that you are particularly passionate about will enable you to give more of yourself to being a changemaker in that field.

Avoid slacktivism

It is difficult to remain authentic if the work you are undertaking as a volunteer does not resonate with you. There is nothing worse than committing to doing something that does not motivate and fulfil you. Falling into the trap of “slackvism” where your motivations are not necessarily genuine hinders the potential for you to contribute to meaningful and long-standing change.

Challenge yourself & go beyond ticking boxes

It is outside of your comfort zone where the magic happens. Sometimes we have to be uncomfortable and really test our limits in order for great things to happen. Some of the greatest life lessons and most cherished memories come from stepping out of your sphere of comfort and into a realm of the unknown. Volunteering is an opportunity to go beyond ticking boxes and challenge yourself – it is a chance for you to contribute to meaningful change, connect with like-minded people and to grow as an individual.

Access your intuitive wisdom & strive to be authentic

To be intuitive is to be authentic in your service as a volunteer. This means showing honesty, integrity and accountability in your actions towards yourself and those around you. Accessing your intuitive wisdom is not an abstract concept – it is simply about finding joy in the work you do and by connecting, reflecting and accepting the process. If you can seek to do this you will develop greater accountability for your actions, a willingness to acknowledge and respond to dynamic energies that arise in your environment, and mutually beneficial relationships will emerge and thrive.

Trust yourself & have fun

The most important thing you can do as a volunteer is to trust yourself. Be the change you want to see – all change starts with you. In challenging yourself there may be times when you question your strengths and capabilities. You are strong and you are capable. When you hold back you obstruct the change you could be making and the experiences you could be having.


FAQs for Students

Time

I haven’t got a lot of time to spare, but I want to volunteer. How much time do I need?

We’ll take whatever time you can give! Different events and organisations require different time commitments, so check the volunteer position description or contact the organisation directly. Whether it’s mowing lawns for an hour or two on a Saturday, to a full day in an office, any and all time is valuable!

When during the week would I be needed?

You can volunteer any time of day, any day of the week or weekend, at any time of year. Most volunteer roles offer shifts in either the morning or the afternoon, but certain events require very specific time commitments, so check the volunteer position description.

I want to volunteer for a specific event. How can I do that?

Check out the events listed on your state peak body for volunteering's website (links at the end of this page), or contact your local volunteer organisation to find ways to help out at the event you’re looking for.

What kind of a commitment from me would a volunteer organisation be looking for?

There are short term (project based, over a few months) and long term (on-going, for as long as you like) volunteer opportunities available, so get in touch with your local volunteer organisation to find a role that suits you.

My time is quite limited, can I volunteer from home?

Yes! We have a number of online volunteering roles, where you can give whatever spare time you have to contribute to the community or a cause you care about via the internet.

We also have a number of micro-volunteering opportunities which work with low time commitments, no scheduling and you can help as many organisations as you like! It’s volunteering on-the-spot and on-demand, which means you can work around your schedule.

Money

I want to volunteer, but I also need to work to pay the bills. Will I have to miss work when I am volunteering?

Absolutely not! We understand that there needs to be a balance between volunteering and earning enough money to be able to eat! There are a range of volunteer roles available, and many are flexible and can be tailored to work around your paid work schedule. Contact your local volunteer organisation or the volunteer coordinator in your role to find the balance that works for you.

Also, some companies offer community service leave as part of their approved work agreement for part-time and full-time employees, so check with your employer to see if that’s the case for you!

Are there any out-of-pocket expenses involved in volunteering?

We won’t ask you to pay for anything that is required for you to perform your role. There may be some travel expenses involved in getting to and from the organisation or event, but the organisation you volunteer with can work with you to try to arrange an alternative (cost-effective) option for you!

I’m a student living out of home, and I can barely get by as it is. Volunteering seems to be more of a privilege...

We understand that, for many people, volunteering their time is a privilege and for others, giving up time isn’t quite so easy. Volunteering your time and effort to better your community and improve the quality of life for others is a gift that is often overlooked, and can provide ample benefits for yourself as well. That being said, we have a range of volunteer opportunities that can work around your study and paid-work schedule, and any little bit of time that you can give helps!

Transport

I don’t have a car, is transport provided as part of volunteering?

It depends on the role. In many cases, you are expected to find your own way to and from the organisation or event. But sometimes, with specific events or certain organisations where you need to travel long distances or quite a while out of the way, travel can be arranged with your volunteer coordinator. Check the volunteer position description for more details.

Is parking available where I’m volunteering?

Parking depends on where you’re volunteering. Often volunteer organisations will have car-parking on-site, but check with the organisation itself to make sure as some inner-city organisations may not be able to provide a car-park for you. Events usually have designated car-parking for volunteers and staff.

How far will I be expected to travel when volunteering?

We can help you find a volunteer opportunity or event close to home, but some volunteer roles will require a bit of travel between centres or event locations. Check the volunteer position description or ask your volunteer coordinator to be sure.

Placement

Can my volunteer work count towards what I’m studying?

In some cases, yes! Check with your lecturer/teacher/course provider to see if your volunteer hours can be counted towards your study.

How can volunteering contribute to my career prospects?

Many volunteer organisations and managers would be more than willing to provide a written or verbal reference for you, covering your role and responsibilities while volunteering. Just ask! You can also use examples from your volunteer work to show employment potential when applying for new roles.

I want to volunteer overseas, how can I find opportunities there?

Ideally, we encourage you to volunteer locally as there are a number of great organisations and groups that offer a wide range of challenging and exciting volunteer roles. If you have your heart set on going overseas, however, you can check with Australian Volunteers for International Development (an initiative of the Australian Government) for opportunities.

Am I covered by insurance when volunteering with an organisation or at an event?

Each volunteer organisation or event should have Volunteer Personal Accident and Public Liability Insurance to cover both you and them in the event of an accident or emergency. Make sure you check with the organisation before starting work, and check if there are any exclusions such as age limits or the type of voluntary work undertaken.

There is also a Code of Practice for organisations involving volunteers, which is endorsed by Volunteering Australia.  

Skills

What skills are required to volunteer?

Enthusiasm, energy, and a willingness to help out. Some volunteer roles require a specific skill-set, but we have many roles that cover a wide range of skills and ability levels. Check the volunteer position description for more details, or ask your volunteer coordinator if unsure.

I want to volunteer for a specific role, but I don’t meet all of the criteria they’re seeking. What should I do?

Often the volunteer position description is used as a guide to indicate the skills necessary for that particular role, but if you’re really keen and think you’d be a great fit, contact the volunteer coordinator directly to meet with them and chat about your suitability.

Alternatively, we can help you find a role that better matches your skills, passions and abilities.

I'm an international student, can I still volunteer?

Yes! Anyone who is willing to learn and contribute their time can volunteer, you don’t need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. If you’re on a student visa, any voluntary work you do is not included in your 40hour limit per fortnight, provided that the work:

  • Is of benefit to the community
  • Is for a non-profit organisation
  • Is genuinely voluntary (that means that you’re not paid in cash or by other means)

Check the volunteer position description or with your volunteer coordinator if you’re unsure.

I want to work with children, are there any extra requirements I need to comply with?

Yes, if you will be working with children, in aged care or with people with a disability, you may need to obtain a National Police Check and/or a Blue Card. The organisation you're volunteering with will be able to arrange these for you, but check with the volunteer coordinator to make sure you're aware of what's required of you before starting work.

I have a disability or chronic health problem, can I still volunteer?

Yes! People with disabilities or chronic health conditions can still benefit greatly from volunteering. In fact, research has shown that adults with disabilities or health conditions ranging from hearing and vision loss to heart disease or diabetes all show improvement after volunteering.

Whether due to a disability, a lack of transportation, or time constraints, many people choose to volunteer their time via phone or computer. In today's digital age many organisations need help with writing, graphic design, email, and other web-based tasks. Some organisations may require you to attend an initial training session or regular meetings while others can be done completely remotely. In any volunteer situation, make sure that you are getting enough social contact, and that the organisation is available to support you should you have questions.

Causes

I have a specific cause/organisation in mind that I’d like to volunteer with. How do I find roles specific to them?

You can search your state peak body for volunteering's website by organisation, cause or event (links at the end of this page). Alternatively, you can contact the organisation or cause direct and ask what volunteer roles they have available.


Start your search

Your state’s peak body for volunteering has a search function that can help you find your volunteer role: