The vostel Blog – News, Opinions and Best Practice about Volunteering

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A comprehensive guide to volunteering platforms all around the world

Man with suitcase in front of sunset

Man with suitcase in front of sunset

by Paula Menzel

Did you know that almost 60% of our volunteers on vostel.de are internationals? Understandably, over the years we have gotten more than just a couple requests from our volunteers regarding making our platform available worldwide. This way, they could also volunteer while being back home or in case of a move to another place as well as during travels.

While we still need some time to achieve that, we thought we could give you an overview of similar projects in the meantime. Volunteering has no borders, just as our volunteers!

On the quest to find the best volunteering platforms

On my search to find the best volunteering platforms from around the world, I had to overcome some hurdles – not only were language barriers a huge issue, but also the limited access to some sites, and – the biggest one of them all – the different volunteering cultures.  While some countries, especially the US and some nordic countries, have an active volunteering culture, from up to 44 % of US-Americans saying they volunteer regularly, others were barely scraping the 15 %. This was also evident through the different sites – some more easy to navigate and filled with a never-ending mass of programs for any volunteer, others are often not even in use anymore or so difficult to use, that there were no information given about anything.

But I did it! I conquered close to hundreds different sites, navigated through even more menus, and read through what feels like a million volunteer announce to give you a little overview how you can find volunteering opportunities, wherever you are!

Please note: The here compiled platforms offer people already living in the places the opportunity to volunteer on short- or long-term basis. Since we do not agree with the practice of volunteer abroad programs, none of the sites here include full-time jobs, internships or volunteering programs. 

All the countries featured in this blog entry:

If you feel like one is missing, please let us know via hello@vostel.de!

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Opera house in Sydney by sunsetSource: unsplash.com/Liam Pozz

Volunteering in Australia

Our friends down under have not only one, but two amazing sites, with which you can choose easily from over 22.000 volunteering opportunities. This is definitely recommended when you live in the bigger cities – unfortunately it still lacks some offers from the more rural areas. 

https://govolunteer.com.au – This is an initiative of volunteering australia which offers a wide variety of programs that are very inclusive . Even the search engine can be adjusted to be suitable for a range of people, for example people just starting to learn English, people with disabilities who want to volunteer etc.

https://www.volunteer.com.au/ – This platform is very similar to govolunteer.com.au and has (almost) the same options to filter. It is just as accessible as govolunteer.com.au and is easy to use.

Volunteering in Austria

Almost 43% of all Austrians volunteered at least once actively last year! This came as a surprise, since the number of volunteering sites is still relatively low. These two might make you acquaintant to the Austrian community and give you the opportunity, to support individuals, communities or organisation.

https://www.where2help.wien/ – Only Vienna but available in English.

https://ehrenamtsboerse.at/freiwillig/ – Only German.

Volunteering in Brazil

2 % of our volunteers come from the largest country in South America, so it would be impossible to miss this beautiful state! The volunteering platforms transformbrasi.coml and atados.com.br are unfortunately so far only available in Portuguese, but offers anyone able to speak a minimum (or some French/Spanish for a matter) the opportunity to “transform brasil” in the best way possible! Besides volunteering opportunities, you can also find ways to give in-kind donations.

https://portal.transformabrasil.com.br/

https://www.atados.com.br

Volunteering in Belgium

The small country in the middle of Europe is home of most European Institutions and stands out through its international vibe – three languages are officially spoken! Here are two sites to make the most of your time living there.

https://www.giveaday.be – Available in Dutch and French.

http://www.levolontariat.be – In French.

Volunteering in Columbia (Latin America)

Well, while meunocolombia.com also technically operates in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Perú and Ecuador, I decided to give our busy bees from Columbia an extra slot –the main site operates in Columbia and offers cool and interesting opportunities for everyone! Besides the usual list-scheme, you can also see all the projects on a map and find the one closest to you. And as a cool feature embedded, you can scroll through past volunteering projects!

https://www.meunocolombia.com/CO-es/projects

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View from the Charles BridgeSource: unsplash.com/ Rodrigo Ardilha

Volunteering in Czech Republic

Czech is one of the most complicated languages in the world – what better way to immerse in it by volunteering actively? This (unfortunately not in English available) site helps you finding “your cup of volunteering”.

https://www.dobrovolnik.cz/

Volunteering in Denmark

Our Danish neighbours are all busy bees and have one of the highest rates of volunteers . That is probably why they rank constantly first on the list of most balanced and well rounded people in the world! frivilligjob.dk is available in English and Danish. While they offer more results in Danish, you won’t miss out if you only speak English!

https://frivilligjob.dk/about-volunteering.html?sprog=en-GB&sprog=en-GB

Volunteering in France

The French definitely do not have to hide regarding their dedication towards helping others! Both here introduced sites are easy to use and can be easily filtered (even for people who want to volunteer and and need wheelchair-accessible spaces!). They have tons of results where you surely find something for your liking. 

https://www.francebenevolat.org/ – This has a English sub-page, and in the “about us” section is a contact given who might support you if your French is (not yet) enough to navigate you through the site.

https://www.tousbenevoles.org/trouver-une-mission-benevole – This site is a bit more tricky to use, but you are able to filter for bigger groups, which might be interesting for big friend/colleague groups.

Volunteering in Germany

Oh Germany, the country of beer, pretzels and the “Schwarze Null” – in the middle of Europe, Germany has become an attractive destination for tourists, expats and people looking for a fresh start. While volunteering has been a “thing for older people” quite long, it slowly saw a shift and more and more people are flocking towards social initiatives. Here are two platforms to support you on your mission!

http://servethecity.de/ – Can be found in Dresden, Berlin, Verden, Bremen, Hannover and Karlsruhe and organises social events such as community dinners. Unfortunately, not available in English.

vostel.de – Lists short-term and long-term volunteering opportunities in Berlin, Cologne, Darmstadt, Frankfurt Main, Munich and Wiesbaden. Quite a bunch of them don’t require any German skills.

https://nebenan.de/ – This platform is based around meeting your neigbours and building a close community, as well as supporting each other through volunteering.

Volunteering in Italy

Italy is fourth place in our ranking of nations using vostel.de  to volunteer in Germany. Almost 5% contribute immensely through several different projects to make their new home a better place! So that all our world-travellers, home-comers, and work-place switcher do not have to worry about not being active, are here some cool sites to use. Unfortunately, none of the sites are available in English.

http://www.volontariperungiorno.it/ – Unfortunetely, you have to registrate to use the website! Otherwise very easy to use.

https://uidu.org/it/scopri/annunci – More long-term commitments, a bit more tricky to navigate but with an amazing array of opportunities.

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Jerusalem by daySource: unsplash.com/Sander Crombach

Volunteering in Israel

The small country at the Mediterranean Sea has more in store than volunteerism and Kibbutz. Ruachtova (Good spirits) offers Hebrew speakers the chance to volunteer per date and to filter by project, time or kind of work. They also include projects such as work with Shoah-survivors. Unfortunately, the site for English and Arabic speakers is spare – by switching the language only an option to contact the organisation with your interests appears.

https://www.ruachtova.org.il/

Volunteering in India

India is one of the biggest countries in the world, and while generosity is one of their core values, it was still a ride trying to find a usable platform –  All of them are in English, at least! 

https://india.onlinevolunteering.org/en/opportunities – This one is online volunteering, so far there is only one announce, but there might be more in the future.

https://www.bhumi.ngo/volunteer/ ; http://donatemytime.in/ – Needs registration, matches interested volunteers with NGOs that fit their profile.

http://www.volunteers.org/ – This one has not that many recent opportunities but still offers some.

Volunteering in Latin America

In 26 countries are 620 Mio. people united – that is almost one tenth of the world population! Spread over the continent are several platforms in use – here you will find a comprehensive guide about some, for specific countries or for several countries at once. None of the sites are available in English yet.

https://www.helpup.com/ – This is a platform mainly operating in Spain, but offers also a broad range of volunteering opportunities in Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.

https://www.meunocolombia.com/EC-es/past-projects – Ecuador.

https://www.meunocolombia.com/SV-es/past-projects – El Salvador (mixed with Mexico).

https://www.meunocolombia.com/HN-es/past-projects – Honduras (also mixed with Mexico).

https://www.meunocolombia.com/MX-es/past-projects – Mexico.

(most of these Projects are often from the same organisations though!)

Volunteering in the Netherlands

Dutchies are the happiest and brightest people of the world, which probably stems from their active volunteering culture – did you know that almost 50% of all Dutch Citizens over 15 years are volunteering? So it’s of no surprise that the Netherlands have a huge amount of sites to choose from. Here are the two best two ones, so make sure to check them out!

https://www.deedmob.com/ – Even has a option to donate and can be accessed in English, as well as filtered for language skills.

https://www.nlvoorelkaar.nl – Only avaible in English so far.

Volunteering in New Zealand

Surrounded by Kiwis in a beautiful scenery is the perfect place to start volunteering. The country, even though often overshadowed by its bigger neighbour Australia, offers stunning landscapes and many opportunities to engage in society by volunteering. seekvolunteer.co, a sub-site of the Australian page, offers the best way to start!

https://seekvolunteer.co.nz/ – Options to filter whether it is accessible to wheelchair user or not, both short term and long term commitments.

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Machu Picchu Source: unsplash.com/Gianella Castro

Volunteering in Peru

Sandwiched between Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia, you will find Peru, a country inhabited by 31. Million people and famous for its landscape and especially the old Inca citadel “Machu Picchu”. Supporting the locals by volunteering is a great opportunity to give back!

https://proa.pe/ – Only in Spanish.

Volunteering in Poland

Not only is Poland equipped with the best food (Polish pierogies, do I have to say more?) and weirdest tradition (throwing water buckets on each other on easter and “Kupała”), it is also a country full of deeply religious people for whom altruism, even with a non-religious background, is part of their identity. The best way to join and immerse in the culture is thus following their paths – by volunteering. Please note: each of these sites are for only a certain city  and none of them are available in English.

http://www.slaskie-wolontariat.org.pl/#1474545934368-58bba303-7999 – In Katowice.

https://www.wolontariatgdansk.pl/activity/list – Danzig.

https://wolontariat.wroclaw.pl/kalendarz – Wroclaw.

further information: http://wolontariat.org.pl

Volunteering in Slovenia

Over half of Slovenia consists of forest and offers home to one percent of the world organisms while only covering 0.004% of the Earth’s surface area – Slovenia is a nature bound country ! Often overseen in the international context, Slovenia managed to flourish in the past thirty years and became more attractive to people from all around the world. To make it a even more beautiful country, here is a platform so that you are able to volunteer and support the locals!

https://www.prostovoljstvo.org/ – Only available in Slovene.

Volunteering in Spain

All our Spanish friends will find a treat on this Spanish website helpup. Whether with monetary oder physical donation, or the most important donation of them all – your time – there is always a way of giving back. Unfortunately, it is so far only available in Spanish.

https://www.helpup.com/

Volunteering in Sweden

Even though Hygge is a Danish word, it pretty much explains the mentality of its neighbouring country, Sweden. This becomes evident in the coziness and calmness that are deeply intertwined in their traditions. Also traditionally, for the Northerner is their feeling of community – always supporting and looking out for each other. Become part of this community by finding volunteering opportunities that suit your personality! The platform is also available in English, but offers less results.

https://www.volontarbyran.org/Überschrift

Volunteering in South Korea

Located in between the Yellow Sea and the Japanese Sea is this beautiful country, famous for its music, food and culture. But there is more to South Korea than this superficial notion of a country famous through Samsung and K-Pop. Therefore, explore and immerse yourself in the Korean way of living by giving the community back through these platforms! Unfortunately, none of these sites are in English.

https://volunteer.seoul.kr/participation – Only in Korean and for opportunities in Seoul.

https://www.suwonvol.com/fe2/volunteer/NR_find.do – Only in Korean and for Gyeonggi-do, with an easy to use calendar overview.

http://vt.busan.go.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=talent Only in Korean and for Busan.

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Colourful houses in JohannesburgSource: unsplash.com/Ken Treloar

Volunteering in South Africa

With its turbulent and long history, South Africa still struggles with many social and cultural implications of their past. To overcome this, and especially many stigmas that we’ve built through our upbringing, what better way than helping the locals by doing meaningful volunteering work? With this platform you can donate time, goods as well as money. Unfortunately, the site mentioned here is only available in English.

https://www.forgood.co.za/ – Donate time, goods, money.

Volunteering in the UK

Did you know that the 25-34 years old are least likely to volunteer in the UK? Time to change that! With the following websites (all available in English, obviously!) it’s easy to find something that is right up your alley.

https://do-it.org – Most of them longterm commitments.

https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/

https://www.deedmob.com/

www.handsonlondon.org.uk – This is only London based.

Volunteering in the USA

What would the US be without volunteering? Whether as students in High-school, after work or during the holidays – most people in the USA are already active volunteers. Why not join them? To make things easier, we thus gathered some platforms, to support you finding your purpose.

https://www.pointsoflight.org/ Absatz

https://www.catchafire.org – This one is skill-based and only online.

https://www.volunteermatch.org – Online, as well as on a physical location.

https://www.allforgood.org

https://www.thedeed.app/ – This app was also called “the Tindr of Volunteering. Available for New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston.


That’s it! More than 23 countries on 5 continents compiled in one entry. However, we hope that this list is not finished yet and you’re more than welcome to submit your suggestions to hello@vostel.de!


Paula Menzel currently does an internship for vostel.de. When she is not working, she likes to do sports or to spend time with friends.

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