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Volunteering: good for you, good for the community

Share your career skills

You have years of experience behind you and skills that could be put to work as a volunteer. Whether your expertise is in something like nursing, teaching, plumbing or accounting, there are so many projects, at home and abroad, that need assistance and support. Australian Business Volunteers, opens new window , for example, helps connect businesses in developing countries in the Pacific and south-east Asia with those experienced in business to provide practical advice and guidance.

With teaching skills you can help refugees and migrants to settle in Australia by teaching English, opens in new window . Carpentry or plumbing experience could help build homes and villages in overseas communities, providing a closer understanding of a country and its people at the same time. Mentoring young people can be another rewarding way to give others the benefit of your years of professional and life knowledge. You can even do this without leaving home, by connecting with people online through programs run by organisations such as The Smith Family, opens in new window . The peak body for volunteering, Volunteering Australia, opens in new window , can help match your skills to a volunteer role while others such as the Do Something, opens in new window  initiative zeros in on grass roots, community volunteering.

Protect the environment

There are myriad ways you can put concerns about the environment to use in the volunteer universe, including opportunities to be involved with scientific environmental projects aimed at research and educating. With Earthwatch, opens in new window , for example, you can become a 'citizen scientist' working alongside professional scientists locally and globally. Closer to home, you can participate in local conservation projects such as rejuvenating wildlife corridors and helping save threatened species or helping clean up rivers and wetlands with groups such as Landcare, opens in new window  and Conservation Volunteers Australia, opens in new window .

Hit the road and meet some farmers

If you’d like to go bush and get your hands dirty lending support to our farming communities, there are plenty of volunteering opportunities. From working and learning on organic farms, to rebuilding fences and other structures for families in rural Australia, particularly after natural disasters such as fires, floods and during times of drought. Groups such as Rural Aid Australia, opens in new window Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF), opens in new window  and BlazeAid, opens in new window  match rural communities who need help with volunteers interested in helping them.

Food lovers

Yes, a love of food can also offer the chance to volunteer, connect with people and make a difference. Food waste, opens in new window  is becoming an increasingly high-profile issue and armies of volunteers are working to address it through organisations such as OzHarvest, opens in new window  and SecondBite, opens in new window , which rescue food that would have been wasted and put it to use. Alternatively, you could work to protect unique biodiversity, local food traditions and promote the joy of cooking and eating through your local branch of the global Slow Food, opens in new window  movement.

History buffs

If history and heritage are your passion, there are opportunities to get involved here, too. The National Trust , opens in new window owns and manages more than 300 heritage sites – including spectacular lighthouses, homes and gardens, and nature reserves – as part of its mission to conserve important parts of our natural and built history and culture. It relies on a volunteer workforce of more than 7,000 people to continue its conservation and educational work. National Trust volunteers contribute their time and provide an important link with local communities in all kinds of roles like front-of-house staff, tour guides, gardeners, collections management and administration. Also, the various state National Parks and Wildlife Services , opens in new window  care for some historically significant sites in national parks.

All creatures great and small

There are many organisations dedicated to the protection and rescue of animals, most of which rely on the work of dedicated volunteers. If you’re an animal lover there are lots of different opportunities available, from transporting animals to foster caring and maintenance and care of animals at shelters. Probably the most well-known of the animal welfare organisations are the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), opens in new window  and the Animal Welfare League, opens in new window  for companion animals, but others such as WIRES, opens in new window  offer the chance to help save and rehabilitate Australia’s native wildlife.

General advice and information only

Any advice and information on this website is general only, and has been prepared without taking into account your particular circumstances and needs. Before acting on any advice on this website you should assess or seek advice on whether it is appropriate for your needs, financial situation and investment objectives.