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Volunteering in my Interest Area

Sometimes the right cause recruits you, and at other times you have to go out and look for it. These links give you information about who, what and where deals with volunteering for various good causes, and should help you put your finger on a group that's right for you.

There are a number of agencies that try to match volunteers with jobs. None of them covers all the possibilities, but if you know what you're looking for they're very helpful indeed.

Click on one of the headings below or scroll down to view all of the resources listed :

Environment Youth University Students Indigenous Overseas Events Emergency Services Join a School Council Join a Board Volunteer from Home

Do you want to do something for the environment?

These are some of the groups you could approach.

National

Some organisations cover the whole of Australia (and may have a branch in your area, or know if there's a suitable project nearby)

  • Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)
    ACF attracts volunteers with a range of skills, interests and backgrounds who share a commitment to the environment and a desire to help achieve their goals. Programs generally focus on a regular commitment of half a day a week or more over a period of at least three months. Some of the areas volunteers play a role in are marketing, library, administration, campaigning, research and the volunteer office itself.
  • Australian Government Natural Resource Management
    The Facilitators in each state can advise on which organisations are seeking volunteers.
  • Clean Up Australia
    Clean up Australia's mission is "To inspire and work with communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment".
  • Conservation Volunteers Australia
    Conservation Volunteers Australia offers a number of different volunteer opportunities from one-day local environmental projects through to two- week expeditions to remote outback locations.
  • Green Skills
    Green Skills is a community non-profit organisation that links environmental training and employment programs to conservation work and sustainable development.
  • Greening Australia
    Volunteer activities organised through Greening Australia include planting, nursery work or seed collection.
  • Greenpeace Australia
    Greenpeace is an independent organisation campaigning to ensure a just, peaceful, sustainable environment for future generations. Volunteers work with local or fundraising community groups, are involved in campaign actions or help out in one of the Greenpeace offices.
  • Keep Australia Beautiful Council
    Through interaction with local governments, businesses, community groups and committed individuals, Keep Australia Beautiful encourages a statewide network of grassroots volunteers who work to deliver a cleaner environment, better resource management and community beautification.
  • Landcare
    The group says: "Volunteering for community landcare is easy, fun and a great way to give back to your community while shaping the future direction of the environment in which you live. Join the thousands of Australians who give time to their local landcare group."
  • Threatened Bird Network
    The Threatened Bird Network is a community based program of the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust and Birds Australia. It aims to encourage community participation in urgent conservation tasks for threatened birds. TBN currently has about 5000 volunteers, and 29 projects on threatened birds, registered.
  • The Wilderness Society
    The Wilderness Society is a community-based environmental advocacy organisation whose mission is to protect, promote and restore wilderness and natural processes across Australia for the survival and ongoing evolution of life on Earth.

State Based

The organisations listed above have state branches, and there are also agencies that operate only in one state.

  • Australian National Insect Collection Volunteer Scheme (ACT)
    The Volunteers Scheme allows interested people to assist with the maintenance of the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC)
  • Nature Conservation Council of NSW
    The Nature Conservation Council of NSW is the State's peak environmental organisation. Opportunities for voluntary work consist of helping both administrative and project staff with office support, campaign assistance or environmental research.
  • Wildlife and Information Rescue Service (NSW)
    The NSW Wildlife Information and Rescue Service (WIRES) is the largest wildlife organisation in Australia. Over the last 20 years it has established a network of over 1500 volunteers who rescue, rehabilitate and release sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife.
  • NSW Fisheries (Fishcare Program)
    Fishcare volunteers talk to anglers about fishing rules and responsible fishing and help in a range of activities, such as fishing clinics, catch surveys and community fishing events.
  • Nature Conservation Council of South Australia
    Counservation SA is committed to protecting, restoring and conserving South Australia's natural environment and advocating for a more sustainable future.
  • Environment Victoria
    Provides a list of volunteering opportunities and links to environmental organisations.

International

Many of the national organisations are branches of international agencies, and there are many other agencies that operate in this area internationally. Research the country you wish to work in.

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Are you young? Do you want to work with young people?

Young people (16 to 24 years old) are a growing volunteer base. According to the 2000 ABS statistics the biggest growth area in volunteering was youth, with an increase in participation among 18-24 year olds from 16.6% to 26.8% between 1995 and 2000.

This section covers both young people as volunteers and volunteering to work with young people (and it should be remembered that current practices generally provide for police record checks in these circumstances).

National

  • CanTeen
    CanTeen is the Australian organisation for young people living with cancer. CanTeen especially needs volunteers to help out on Bandanna Day, held around October each year.
  • Vision Generation (VGen)
    World Vision's national youth movement, a group of passionate young Australians aged 14 - 28 whose mission is to inspire, educate and empower young people in the fight against global poverty and injustice.
  • Scouts Australia
    The aim of Scouting is to encourage the physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual development of young people so they may play a constructive role in society as responsible citizens and as members of their local and international communities.
  • Guides Australia
    Membership of the Guides is open to girls from 5 to 18 years of age, and women 18 years and over. Guides try a wide range of activities, appropriate to their age and abilities. Members decide, plan, participate in and evaluate their program, which is facilitated by an accredited trained adult volunteer leader.
  • YWCA
    The YWCA is a voluntary organisation whose volunteer leaders direct and inspire its work. Volunteers of all ages contribute at every level of the YWCA, from the operational and administrative levels of the Organisation through to mentoring, board and advisory roles.

    State Based

    • Red Cross Young Humanitarians (Victoria)
      Red Cross allows those under the age of 25 to participate in their Young Humanitarians program. It provides assistance both in metropolitan Melbourne and rural Victoria through a number of projects and community programs, focusing on supporting vulnerable people in the community. While these programs are part of the important work of the Australian Red Cross, they are also developed and coordinated solely by young people in the community, and provide the opportunity for young people to participate in interesting, relevant and exciting volunteer work.
    • YVolunteer (WA)
      "A program that links young people in Western Australia with community organisations that need volunteers. We help you think about what you're interested in doing, and then we help you find a place that is looking for a volunteer just like you!"
    • Connections Volunteers
      Connections Volunteers links people living with a mental illness in the ACT with volunteers who provide companionship and support.
    • Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES)
      Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) provides specialist, multicultural language and employment services in Victoria. With the assistance of Government contracts, AMES successfully educates and services almost 50,000 people every year. "Each year our committed and generous volunteers assist over 1500 newly arrived migrants, many of whom are refugees, with their English language and settlement needs."

    International

    • World Youth International Australia (WYI)
      WYI is an international development organisation WYI is a South Australian based not for profit, non-religious and non-political charitable organisation that offers people over the age of 18 the opportunity to travel to a developing country and volunteer in a meaningful way.

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      Volunteering for University Students

      All universities have information on volunteering for students; some organise their own volunteer programs, or have vocational streams that do. The following list is not exhaustive: check your own university's website for details.

      By university

      By faculty

      Other resources

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      Do you want to work with Indigenous people?

      • Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV)
        ICV is a national independent, not-for-profit company that offers support to Indigenous communities to pursue their community development goals in their own way. ICV is making a difference by providing volunteers who can transfer their skills to people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations. ICV matches skilled volunteers with approved short to medium term projects. Communities and organisations choose the most suitable volunteer for their project.
      • Generation One
        Find out how to mentor a young Indigenous person at Generation One.

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      Do you want to volunteer to work overseas?

      • World Youth International Australia (WYI)
        WYI is an international development organisation WYI is a South Australian based not for profit, non-religious and non-political charitable organisation that offers people over the age of 18 the opportunity to travel to a developing country and volunteer in a meaningful way.
      • Oxfam
        Volunteering is a great way to be a part of Oxfam Australia's work. Oxfam relies on the valuable support of more than 1,200 volunteers throughout Australia who help us to change the lives of people living with poverty and injustice around the world. By becoming a volunteer you have an opportunity to help make a difference. Whether it's with events, communications, campaigns, administration, fundraising or program support, we have opportunities for volunteers with a whole range of different skills, knowledge and experience.
      • Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers
        Manages Green Corps, an environment initiative for young people; the site gives info about current conservation projects, and how to participate in projects in Australian and overseas.
      • Palms Australia
        Palms Australia engages and links people wanting to build a just, sustainable and interdependent world with communities requesting assistance to alleviate and eradicate poverty and to overcome oppression, disadvantage and injustice.
      • Volunteering for International Development from Australia (VIDA)
        ViDA is Australia's newest international volunteer program sending skilled Australians to work in the Asia Pacific.
      • RedR Australia
        RedR Australia works with United Nations agencies through Standby Staffing Arrangements funded by AusAID.
      • Interserve Australia
        Interserve is an international Christian sending agency.
      • International Medical Volunteers Association (IMVA)
        The IMVA site provides networking opportunities for potential volunteers, volunteer organisations and medical practitioners working in international development.
      • Engineers Without Borders Australia
        An organisation aimed at helping communities in need through engineering related projects. The unique part of EWB is in involving younger engineers. These younger engineers (students & graduates) are mentored through the development process by more experienced engineers.
      • Australian Business Volunteers
        ABV contributes to poverty reduction, sustainable development and good governance by providing Australian expert volunteers who, through sharing their skills and experience, assist businesses and organisations in developing countries to grow and thrive. The program focuses on clients in South East Asia and the Pacific.
      • AFS Intercultural Programs
        AFS Intercultural Programs is one of the world's largest not-for-profit community-based volunteer organisations and is dedicated to building a more just and peaceful world through intercultural exchange. AFS offers exchange programs to over 50 countries worldwide.
      Volunteering programs based in other countries that may also offer opportunities for Australians, and some are listed on links programs such as Australian Volunteers International and World Volunteer Web.

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      Are you interested in events volunteering?

      • Centre for Volunteering (NSW)
        Event volunteers have helped the tickertape fly for our firefighters; they've been trackside for the Sydney Marathon; and they've been central to the success of the Sydney Swans Community Games at Telstra Stadium.
      • Volunteering Australia (Events)
        Are you interested in event volunteering? We are looking for volunteers who would like to work at various major events.
      • St. Johns Ambulance
        Provides first aid care at public events throughout Australia and manage a diverse range of community care and support programs.

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      Do you want to help the emergency services?

      • Lifeline
        Lifeline's 24-hour telephone counselling service is staffed by trained volunteers, who are available to answer calls from anywhere in Australia, at anytime. Lifeline also offers a range of other services such as suicide prevention and awareness programs. You can become a volunteer for Lifeline. Lifeline trains volunteers to become accredited Lifeline Telephone Counsellors or to help out in warehouses, shops, and administration areas.
      • Australian Red Cross
        "When lives are touched by emergency, crisis or disaster anywhere across Australia you can be sure that our teams of trained volunteers will be there to provide practical assistance and support". The Red Cross also organises blood donations.
      • St. Johns Ambulance
        Provides first aid care at public events throughout Australia and manage a diverse range of community care and support programs.
      • Salvation Army
        Working with the Salvos will make you a partner with us in our community service programs, which last year assisted more than one million Australians. With your help, we will continue to be there for those in crisis.

      State Based

      • South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS)
        The community relies on people, from all walks of life, to give their time to become members of the SA Country Fire Service (CFS). Men and women who live within a reasonable distance of their local brigade are very welcome to join.
      • South Australian State Emergency Service (SES)
        The State Emergency Service (SES) is a volunteer emergency service organisation that provides immediate assistance during emergencies and disasters. We respond to 'day to day' incidents such as vehicle accidents, searches, cliff rescues, flood and storm damage situations and any other incidents that might require rescue or search services. The SES has storm and flood relief as responsibilities in State legislation.
      • Tasmania Fire Service volunteers When you join a brigade you become part of a large team of volunteers who have an important job to do for their community.
      • Country Fire Authority (CFA) - Victoria
        The CFA is one of the world's largest volunteer-based emergency services. There are around 58000 volunteer members supported by over 400 career fire fighters.
      • Victorian State Emergency Service (SES)
        The SES is a volunteer-based emergency service, servicing the State of Victoria.
      • Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia (FESA)
        Volunteers respond to a wide range of emergencies including fire, cyclones, storms, floods, road accidents, chemical spills and earthquakes as well as undertaking search and rescue operations on land and water.

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      Do you want to join a school council?

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      Do you want to get on a board or committee of management?

      • Our Community Board Matching Service
        Our Community's free service is designed to help individuals make a deeper, longer lasting connection with their community, and to allow community groups to access a new pool of skilled and willing helpers.
      • Our Community Boards Helpsheets
        Our Community has an immense range of information on joining, working on, and motivating not-for-profit boards.

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      Do you want to contribute from home to a range of causes?

      • UN Volunteers
        You can now contribute your time, skills, and experience over the internet from your home and office to a wide range of local, national and international causes. If you have an internet connection you can be a true Virtual Volunteer.

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      Still haven't found what you're after?

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