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Learn about volunteering, its benefits, and how to choose the right role for you


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.


Benefits of volunteering

  • Professional development
    • Gain valuable work experience
    • Learn new skills and develop employable skills for your career
    • Attain references for your resume
    • Build industry connections and networks
    • Bring your own insights and ideas into the community 
    • Help non-profits enhance and extend their cause
  • Personal development
    • Build your confidence
    • Act on your values, passions and interests
    • Enjoy new social and cultural experiences
    • Improve your physical and mental health
    • Have fun and make a difference!


Volunteering and employability

Up to 85% of employers believe volunteering to be just as credible as paid work.

If you’re having trouble finding the right role in your industry, volunteering could be an easier way to reinforce your resume and your skill set.

92% of employers said that relevant volunteering experience gives candidates an edge in job interviews. It’s a great talking point that can help you make a connection with a potential employer.

If you’re working towards a paid position in a socially responsible organisation, volunteering experience will be a strong indication of your integrity. Regardless of the field, employers see volunteers as trustworthy, proactive and motivated.


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.

  • 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.

Support good mental health

Reachout.com is a leading online mental health organisation for young people and their parents. They provide practical support, tools and tips to help young people to get through anything from everyday issues to tough times.

  • 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.

LGBTQIA rights and social justice

National LGBTI Health Alliance - QLife provides access to a network of trained volunteers who provide listening support and information services for LGBTQIA people as well as their family and friends.

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


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 democratic integrity. You chose the issues you want to work on.

Gender equality

YWCA Australia is a leading national feminist organisation working towards a future where all women, young women and girls are equal, safe and respected. They advocate for women leading change, and fight for gender equality and women’s rights.

  • Register your interest in volunteering. Opportunities can arise thought the year, for example volunteering for a mentoring program or participating in an advocacy campaign.

Climate control

Climate for Change's mission is to create the social climate in Australia for effective action 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 young 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 to relate to others again and start to rebuild their lives.

  • Interested in joining a committee? Each Community Committee supports a specific Lighthouse home, its young people and carers.

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 aims to promote the health and well-being of all Australians. Their goals include promoting optimal health by encouraging food variety, physical activity and an understanding of good nutrition.



  • 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.


How to choose a role that's a good match for you

Volunteering sharpens your talents and gives you a taste of working in your preferred industry.

It can also help broaden your horizons. You can work outside of the box by adapting to fields that are not directly related to your course.

Some ideas by disciplines:

Here are a few questions for you to 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?

A useful resource is the Volunteering to Learn Good Practice Guide for Students. This covers how to find out about volunteering opportunities, insights about volunteer organisations and identifies common challenges and solutions.


How to make the most impact

Volunteer in a space that you believe in

Find a cause, group or organisation that resonates deeply with you. There are many things 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 excelling in that field.

Challenge yourself and 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.

Trust yourself and 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.


Frequently asked questions








Start your search

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

It’s a great place to start. Use the advanced section to help narrow things down to the particular causes you find meaningful or roles you can easily travel to.