Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain “to benefit another person, group or organization”. Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.
Skills-based volunteering is leveraging the specialized skills and the talents of individuals to strengthen the infrastructure of nonprofits, helping them build and sustain their capacity to successfully achieve their missions. This is in contrast to traditional volunteering, where specific training is not required
An increasingly popular form of volunteering among young people, particularly gap year students and graduates, is to travel to communities in the developing world to work on projects with local organisations. Activities include teaching English, working in orphanages, conservation, assisting non-governmental organizations and medical work. International volunteering often aims to give participants valuable skills and knowledge in addition to benefits to the host community and organization.
Also called e-volunteering or online volunteering, virtual volunteering is a volunteer who completes tasks, in whole or in part, offsite from the organization being assisted. They use the Internet and a home, school, telecenter or work computer, or other Internet-connected device, such as a PDA or smartphone. Virtual volunteering is also known as cyber service, telementoring, and teletutoring, as well as various other names.
Micro-volunteering is a task performed via an internet-connected device. An individual typically does this task in small, un-paid increments of time.
Environmental volunteering refers to the volunteers who contribute towards environmental management or conservation. Volunteers conduct a range of activities including environmental monitoring, ecological restoration such as re-vegetation and weed removal, protecting endangered animals, and educating others about the natural environment.
Coming soon – a directory of volunteering resources in South Africa