Volunteering can be a challenge both physically and mentally, and if you want to volunteer, you need to be prepared and interested in learning about a new culture. Many questions come up and here we have tried to collect the most common questions in terms of volunteer projects.
Why should I consider volunteer work?
The first question you should ask yourself when you want to go on a volunteer project is why you want to do this. It is important to realize that it's not a holiday and you are expected to work each day (usually not on weekends) and be committed to what you do.
How long should I volunteer?
Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Each project has a specified minimum stay duration, it’s up to you how much you can commit if you want to stay for longer. In our experience the longer you stay on a project the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens, and you take on more responsibilities.
What qualities should I have as a volunteer?
The most important thing is that you are open-minded about new cultures and experiences, flexible, proactive and determined to work hard - life can be much tougher than at home. Most projects are run by local "not-for-profit" organizations, and these projects may be more or less organized – and resources are often very scarce.
The only language you need to participate in our projects is English, both for communication with your fellow volunteers and to give non-English speaking communities a chance to practice their language skills. On most South and Central America projects basic Spanish or Portuguese is required, and lessons are available both before and during your volunteer work.
Finally, remember that what you do is one piece in a large puzzle and all the pieces are equally important no matter how small or large. It may sometimes feel like insignificant work, even though it might be crucial for the project!
How will I actually make a difference?
Our volunteers give their time and energy to raise awareness of environmental issues on a local and global platform, support education initiatives, provide safe environments for preschool children and provide much-needed help with the many repetitive but necessary tasks in the everyday running of animal rescue centres. The positive effect before, during and after volunteering can’t be underestimated, with the right expectations and an open flexible attitude, a volunteer can help relieve overstretched resources, inspire, motivate and provide a positive role model.
What is included with the volunteer projects?
Accommodation is always included. It will be basic living at a volunteer house or a hostel with bunk beds. Sometimes you can choose to stay with a family (homestay) or share a twin room with another volunteer. Sometimes it is also possible to pay extra to stay in a private room.
Food is usually included. Sometimes it includes all the food and sometimes only part of the meals. It is simple food, so remember to tell us in advance, if you have diabetic requirements or have any allergies.
Transport between your accommodation and the project is usually provided (there might be exceptions). In most cases, the transfer from the airport to your accommodation is included too.
Since projects are very different between countries and regions, it is important that you ask our travel advisors about the details and inclusions of your project.
Do I need to have a specific education or work experience to be a volunteer?
No, nearly everybody can be a good volunteer and lend a helping hand. But it's always good to let us know what you are studying or working with so we can try to find a volunteer job that suits your skills and study.
Should I bring money or gifts to the project?
Avoid giving cash money as a gift. If you want to give something, it's better to bring clothes, pencils or books with you or buy supplies when you arrive and support the local economy. While you are working on the project, you can discuss with your local coordinator, if you should start any fundraising for the project or how it’s possible to contribute through existing social structures.
Can I not just travel and find a volunteer project locally?
You can do that, but we don't recommend it. You might not know if the project you're working for is legitimate, the organization may put money in their own pockets. It’s also very difficult to find out if the project has both short and long-term goals and is developed as a response to the needs of the local community or as a response to travellers’ needs. If you arrange your volunteer project through KILROY, we will back you up if anything goes wrong. We will also offer you support before, during and after your stay. We visit and verify all projects so we can stand behind sending our travellers out there.
Where can I volunteer?
We have some amazing community volunteering, nature conservation, marine and wildlife conservation projects all over the world. See all our volunteer projects here.