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Volunteering ideas – where can you start?

If you’ve been thinking about volunteering, that’s great! There are heaps of places out there that are always looking for keen helpers, and many of them welcome volunteers from ages 16+.

Before we get into some places where you might like to volunteer, let’s have a quick look at the benefits of volunteering.

What’s in it for you?

Well, you won’t get rich financially – but you’ll get rich in many other ways:

  • Experience
  • Learning new skills
  • Reduces stress
  • Combats depression
  • Mentally and/or physically stimulating
  • Provides a sense of purpose
  • Helps other people
  • Makes you feel better about yourself
  • Great for your resume
  • Benefits your community
  • Make new friends
  • Network
  • Challenging
  • Fun

Whatever your motivation for volunteering and no matter what your interests are, there will be a way you can get involved with something that matters to you, and that will also make a positive difference to you.

Skills you could gain or improve on

Include but not limited to:

  • Industry-related skills
  • The ability to work in a team
  • Leadership
  • Problem solving and adaptability
  • Communicating with clients and stakeholders
  • The ability to plan and prioritise work
  • Sales skills
  • Time management
  • Report writing
  • Improved interpersonal skills

Not sure where to start?

Here are some ideas for ways you can volunteer your time:

Environmental initiatives

  • Participate in community clean-up events.
  • Join a local tree planting or gardening project.
  • Assist in wildlife conservation efforts.

Mentoring and education

  • Tutor students in subjects you excel in.
  • Teach workshops on specific skills (e.g., coding, art, cooking).

Aged care

  • Visit nursing homes to spend time with and support the elderly.
  • Assist with organising social activities for seniors.

Homelessness and hunger

  • Volunteer at a local food bank or soup kitchen.
  • Distribute food and essential items to homeless individuals.
  • Help organise donation drives for clothing, blankets, and food.

Animal welfare

  • Volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue organisation.
  • Foster animals awaiting adoption.
  • Assist with pet adoption events.

Healthcare and support

  • Offer companionship and assistance to patients in hospitals or hospices.
  • Volunteer for crisis hotlines or support groups.
  • Help organise blood donation drives.

Disaster relief

  • Join disaster response teams to provide aid in emergencies.
  • Volunteer with organisations that provide relief to disaster-stricken areas.

Arts and culture

  • Volunteer at local museums, galleries, or cultural events.
  • Assist with organising and promoting arts-related programs.

Housing and construction

  • Join community projects to build or repair homes for those in need.
  • Volunteer with organisations that provide housing assistance.

Digital volunteering

  • Offer virtual tutoring or mentoring sessions.
  • Help non-profits with website design, social media, or graphic design.

Social activism

  • Volunteer with organisations working on human rights, equality, and social justice.
  • Engage in voter registration and education campaigns.

Language and cultural exchange

  • Help newcomers learn the local language and culture.
  • Participate in language exchange programs.

Sports and recreation

  • Coach youth sports teams or lead fitness classes.
  • Assist with organising local sports tournaments or events.

You’ve got nothing to lose

With so many choices and with so many benefits, why wouldn’t you consider giving volunteering a go? Hopefully some of these volunteering ideas have sparked your interest.

If you don’t enjoy it then you can always try something else (once your commitment is complete), and you never know where it could lead you.

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