Frequently Asked Questions

For Volunteers


What is is an online platform that lists social, cultural and ecological projects in non-profit organisations in need of support. Signing up for any project is free of charge but requires prior registration on the vostel platform.

Do I have to pay to use

Using vostel, that is our website and platform, is completely free of charge for private individuals. For corporate users, please consider our Corporate Volunteering Program that offers customized volunteering opportunities for corporations and their employees in social, cultural and ecological projects.

How old do I have to be to start my commitment with

This depends on the individual project. Some of our partner organisations require that their volunteers are at least 18 years of age. Also there are projects that are emotionally challenging or that take place late in the evening or even at night and are thus not adequate for underaged volunteers. Yet again other projects do not have any age restrictions. If you are unsure, just ask us for advice.

Can I register for voluntary services (FSJ, Work camps etc.) on does not offer volunteer stays lasting for several months. This means that we can neither support you with searching for a project nor with issues like searching for accommodation.
Nevertheless, we encourage you to get involved with a project on a reoccurring or even long-term basis.

In which cities does exist?

At present, vostel is operating in Berlin and Munich. We are planning to open up our services in even more cities in the near future. Sign up for our newsletter to be always up to date! If you are interested in becoming a Community Manager to support the development of in other cities, feel free to contact us at .

I have more questions. Is there a chance to reach you personally?

Sure, on our Contact Page you can find all channels through which we can be reached.

Sign up and Cancellation of Projects

How do I sign up for a project?

There are different ways how you can participate in our projects: For some projects you can sign up directly on the platform; for others, the organisation will invite you to an „intro session“ to meet you personally in advance. Yet again for other projects, the organisation itself manages volunteers asking you to get in touch with them directly.

I didn’t get a confirmation mail. What’s the reason for it?

Have a look in your spam folder or in your bin (some email providers delete spam immediately).
Especially the providers Hotmail, Live, MSN and Outlook tend to not receive our emails. In that case, please use another email address.
If you still cannot find it, please contact us: .

I can no longer take part in the project I signed up for. How and until when can I cancel?

The earlier, the better. Our project partners really count on your help. If necessary, you can cancel a project you signed up for in your dashboard by clicking “cancel” or simply by writing us an email.

Volunteering with

Can I bring friends to projects I have signed up for?

Of course you can volunteer together with your friends. They only need to register on and sign up for the projects. This helps the organisation plan and manage its activities in advance.

Can I volunteer for more than one project at once?

We are glad that you are excited about the prospects of volunteering and that you want to give something back to society. However, from our experience we can tell that it is better to check out one project after the other. Furthermore, we generally advise our vostel newbees to sign up for only one date in the beginning to get to know the project and the organisation and to pick more dates after your first positive experience.
On vostel, you can register for a maximum of 3 projects at the same time.

I don’t speak any German. Is that a problem?

No, our database lists a whole lot of projects where either no or just some basic German skills are needed (the rest is labelled accordingly). As a matter of fact, your language skills will be of great use for many organisations (for example as a translator in volunteering projects with refugees).

Am I insured during the project?

For most projects, you are automatically covered in case of accidents or casualties. This is also marked in the project description. If insurance is not included, please make sure you own a valid private accident and casualty insurance before starting your first volunteer job.

Certificate of Good Conduct and Health Certificate (“Red Card”)

Why do I need a Certificate of Good Conduct?

A Certificate of Good Conductis an extract of the Central Federal Register for criminal acts. It proves that you do not have a history of criminal offences. In the case of volunteer work it is often required for projects that involve children and adolescents. Should an organisation ask for an “extended criminal record”, the social organisation of your choice will need to provide you with a letter before you can apply for the document.

How do I get a Certificate of Good Conduct when I'm registered in Germany?

We support you with the application. For this, we charge 7.50 EUR. For more information send an email to .

How do I get a Certificate of Good Conduct when I'm NOT registered in Germany?

1. If you are from another country within Europe, you will have to certify this application form (by your home country’s Embassy or at police station in your country) and send it together with the required documents to the following address:

Bundesamt für Justiz
– Bundeszentralregister –
Sachgebiet IV 2
53094 Bonn

2. Transfer 13 EUR to the following bank account:

Deutsche Bundesbank
IBAN: DE49370000000038001005
purpose: (reference number of the procedure if available – or First and Last name of the applicant)

Why do I need a health passport („Red Card“) and how do I get it?

You need the Health Certificate (also called „Red Card“) for all projects that bring you in contact with food – even if you are only responsible for its distribution and not for food processing. You will receive a short training focusing on hygiene, on how to deal with food correctly and how to recognize symptoms of disease.
While the general Health Certificate costs 20 EUR you can also apply for a Health Certificate that is only valid for the organisation where you will volunteer.
To apply for a health passport, follow the steps below.
1. For the health passport that is free of charge get a confirmation from the organisation where your plan to volunteer.
2. Take your written confirmation or 20 EUR (for the general Health Certificate) and an official ID to a local health authority that is responsible for the respective organisation. Click here to find a list of all Berlin authorities. Attention: you have to make an appointment in advance!
3. The training will last for about one hour and includes a short 20 min video, the distribution of relevant documents and a short presentation. And this is it.
4. Don’t forget to take your health pass to your first volunteering mission.

For Organisations


What exactly does vostel do?

Through our platform launched in 2015, we connect non-profit organisations in need of support and manpower, with people looking for volunteer activities. Our platform lists social, ecological and cultural projects that interested volunteers can sign up for. We work together with more than 120 non-profit organisations in Berlin and Munich.

Are only non-profit organisations eligible to find volunteers on

vostel offers support in finding volunteers to all non-profit organisations and initiatives i.e. all those organisations that are legally defined as „gemeinnützig. ” If your organisation is not defined as charitable according to German law but your mission nevertheless adds value to society, we decide on a case-by-case basis.

Do I have to pay to use

The use of our homepage, our platform and our services is completely free of charge for non-profit organisations and initiatives. Our costs (especially for staff and the development of our platform) are covered through our Corporate Volunteering program.

In which cities does exist?

If you think vostel should also be available in your area, get in touch. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Finding Volunteers

How does vostel support us in finding volunteers?

After registering your organisation on, you can go ahead and publish your projects that are in need of volunteers. You define the dates and chose the number of volunteers needed for a certain mission or for a first get-together. If you prefer getting to know the possible volunteers personally in advance, pick a date for an “Intro Session” or leave your contact details so that potential volunteers can get in touch with you easily.

Who are the volunteers on

In our pool of volunteers you can find people of various backgrounds, with different interests and language skills. Some of our volunteers are native Germans, many bring along good German skills, some none at all. Always indicate the level of German the volunteers should have for your missions.
Volunteers speaking relatively rare foreign languages might be particularly valuable for your organisation and projects: Arabic speakers with good English skills could help out as translators for projects with refugees for example.

Are the volunteers insured during the project?

Most organisations offer insurance (usually an accident and casualty insurance) for their volunteers. If the volunteers are not insured through your organisation, we advise you to request a written confirmation that they own a valid private accident and casualty insurance. In the unlikely event of an accident or the-like, you cannot be held responsible.

Corporate Volunteering

Do you support us in cooperation with companies (Corporate Volunteering)?

We organize so called Social Days with non-profits and corporations in Berlin where groups of 10 to 50 employees support you with different activities lasting from a couple of hours or half a day to one full day. The tasks can be very different ranging from for instance gardening, renovations or moving to cleaning-up and decluttering. They can also include playing with children, crafting, leading workshops or organising excursions and sport activities.
Social Days are organised based on demand and in close contact with you. During the Social Day(s), at least one vostel team member will accompany you dealing with the corporate volunteers, so that you can go about your daily business as much as possible. We are aware that group projects always incur costs (for example for the construction of certain objects). For that reason for every Social Day we make calls for financial and/or physical donations within the respective corporations that we forward directly to you.