How-To Guides

To make it easier for you to fulfil your commitments, our team has put together these guides to assist you to take action!

Volunteer for the movement to end poverty

Volunteering is not only a hugely practical and useful way to work to bring about change; it is also immensely rewarding and a lot of fun.

Volunteering some of your time to an organisation that can make use of your skills is a brilliant way to contribute to the movement. You can volunteer locally, or you if youʼve got the right skills and time, you can head overseas.

Locally

Many aid and development charities use the support of volunteers to keep their costs down, scale up their impact and stay connected to the community. Broadly speaking, you can volunteer in one of six ways locally:

  • Helping with administration or a technical skill youʼve got
  • Fundraising by putting on an event or collecting money
  • Awareness raising through events, workshops or public speaking
  • Advocacy and activism
  • Program delivery where you help run actual programs.

If you want to volunteer locally, get in touch with the organisations that you would like to offer your services, and be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What skills do you have / how do you want to volunteer?
  • What time do you have to give over what period?
  • What experience and knowledge do you have that will help the charity?
  • Why do you want to volunteer?

Overseas / in the field

If you're ready for something bigger, why not consider volunteering overseas?  Be prepared that you may not make a major and immediate contribution towards ending poverty unless you commit to volunteer for an extended period, but there is immense value in doing an overseas trip to volunteer and expand your understanding of what poverty is and what needs to be done to eradicate it.

  • Short term volunteering can include teaching English, working with children, doing community work, building projects and disaster relief.
  • If you have specific skills, look out for opportunities that utilise your skill to benefit communities.
  • Long term volunteering requires a stronger commitment, but allows you to contribute in a powerful and practical way.
    • Voluntary Service Overseas recruits volunteers aged between 18 and 75 to live and work in the heart of local communities. We are actively recruiting at all times, and there are a number of placements to suit a variety of ages and professional expertise.

In order to make sure youʼre an asset and not a burden, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind:

  • Itʼs about the locals, not you. Where possible, locals should be leading and implementing projects. Your role is to support and build capacity.
  • Cultural context. Thereʼs a lot going on in a community that you wonʼt understand. You need to accept this, be humble in the way you work, and realise that you need to stay for a long time to be truly accepted.
  • Development is hard. The daily grind of many projects can be disheartening. Lots of things will go wrong and you may be left wondering if youʼre really making a difference.

Finally, remember that although volunteering locally or overseas can make a contribution, it also takes quite a lot of effort and time for the organisation that youʼre volunteering with to manage you. Not all organisations are setup to manage volunteers, and not all volunteering placements work out. If this happens to you, donʼt despair. Focus instead on learning the lessons to make sure that your next effort at volunteering works brilliantly.