Volunteering is a great extracurricular activity to develop transferable skills, boost your CV and make a difference in the wider community. Corporate social responsibility is a key goal for employers that incorporates sustainable development into a company's business model with a focus on environmental, philanthropic and ethical activities. Volunteering is a fantastic way to demonstrate your commitment to a sector and enrich your time at Imperial.
There is a wide range of volunteering opportunities, so whatever skills and experience you already have, there is likely to be something which you can do. You can volunteer for a few hours a week or you may decide to undertake a longer period of voluntary work during your vacations or after you graduate. It is possible to volunteer for projects in the UK or combine an interest in travelling and volunteering by working in another country.
Volunteering at Imperial
You can volunteer with fellow students, by taking part in student-led volunteering projects. Imperial has many volunteering societies that support a huge range of social causes
Other opportunities at Imperial
You can support new students' transitions by joining the Welcome Team. The College's Outreach Office host the Pimlico Connection programme, which allows you to be a tutor in local schools. You can also volunteer with What the Tech?! helping elderly members of the White City community to use their smart devices such phones and laptops or volunteer to help out at the Imperial Lates events.
Want to be part of something big? Imperial’s annual Great Exhibition Road Festival is put on with the Science Museum, the V&A, the Natural History Museum and more and it recruits almost 200 volunteers to help deliver it. Welcoming 60,000 people in 2019, it’s a great opportunity to be part of something big. Full training provided. Find out more.
UK or abroad?
Volunteering in the UK
Some resources to look at if you’re interested in volunteering in the UK include Volunteering Matters, the UK's largest volunteering and training organisation, The National Council for Voluntary Organisations, which has details of your local volunteer centre and Do-it.org where you can search for opportunities and apply online.
The ‘Taking a year out' section of our website has further details on opportunities to volunteer aboard. There are organisations such as Bunac, EcoSwell and the International Citizen's Service which will arrange opportunities to volunteer for a variety of projects. Most will charge a fee to cover costs, so ensure that you research the company thoroughly before payment.
How do I pitch my volunteering experience to employers?
Employers are interested in more than just academic background and paid work experience. The other activities you are involved in at College can demonstrate that you have a variety of skills that employers seek. You can include your voluntary work on your CV but make sure that you can highlight what you did and the skills you gained from the experience. See our web pages on writing a CV for more information.
Examples from your voluntary work can also be used to answer questions on application forms or in interviews when you are asked to give examples of when you have worked in a team, had to organise or plan an activity or had to solve a problem. Find out more about how to create effective answers in the section on applications and interviews.
Finding volunteering opportunities A to Z
A to E
- ARCHELON - a nonprofit conservation organization that runs a number of volunteer projects for the protection of sea turtles and their habitats in Greece every year (fees apply).
- The Association of Medical Research - online directory of member charities
- Beyond South America - a mediation agency that supports volunteers and interns who want to come to South America (fees apply)
- Charity Choice - the Charity Choice A to Z lists provide links to thousands of UK charities and non-profit organisations
- Charity Commission for England & Wales - includes a register of Charities in England and Wales
- Charity People - a dedicated charity jobs board and an online charity network, transforming forum3 into a fully integrated charity recruitment and networking resource
- Charityworks - dedicated to finding and developing the future leaders of the non-profit sector in the UK. Charityworks is a unique talent initiative for charities, housing associations and social enterprises.
- Community Connections – Imperial College Union’s service to connect Imperial students with volunteering in the community.
- Department for International Development (DIFID) - DFID is a UK Government department, working to promote sustainable development and eliminate world poverty
- Do-It - provides listing of one million opportunities to volunteer in the UK, through which you can search and apply online
- EcoSwell - not-for-profit NGO whose mission is to design and develop socio-environmental, educational and infrastructure projects with the purpose of guiding the development of rural/semi-rural localities through the path of a sustainable development, increasing the quality of life of their inhabitants.
- Eldis - an online information service providing free access to relevant, up-to-date and diverse research on international development issues
- Engineers without Borders - an international humanitarian/not-for-profit engineering organisation
F to I
- Flow Charitas - a dedicated not-for-profit and, more specifically, a charity recruitment consultancy
- Global Vision International - international internships, work experience opportunities and conservation expeditions around the world
- Green Works Africa - their mission is to support African communities in social development work
- The Guardian: Society - Voluntary Sector - latest news from the public and voluntary sectors, including health, children, local government and social care
- Hamba Africa - a charity dedicated to environmental conservation and protecting the wildlife in South Africa
- The Institute of Development Studies - gateway site to all aspects of development including globalisation, development economics and international aid
- Institute of Fundraising - the professional membership body for UK fundraising. Its website contains information on developing a career in fundraising
- Intercultural Youth Exchange - offers a variety of volunteer placements working alongside NGOs around the world
- International Development Organisations - The University of Kent's Careers Service's comprehensive lists of links to international development organisations
L to W
- Latin American Foundation for the Future - works with local partner organisations in Cusco to support marginalised children and young people in Peru
- National Council for Voluntary Organisations - a body that oversees voluntary work in the UK
- OECD - helps governments foster prosperity and fight poverty through economic growth and financial stability
- Oxfam - a leading international NGO with a worldwide reputation for excellence in the delivery of aid and development work.
- Public Affairs Links - provides everything you need to know about the UK and EU lobbying industry
- Reach Volunteering - national online platform where you can look for volunteering opportunities based on your professional skills.
- Scientists for Global Responsibility - promotes the responsible uses of scientific knowledge
- ThirdSector - the UK’s leading publication for everyone who needs to know what’s going on in the voluntary and not-for-profit sector
- Union of International Associations - unique free service allows you to search the websites of all intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), comprising over 3000 bodies including the United Nations, the European Commission, the World Bank, etc.
- United Nations Jobs - find out about and apply for jobs at the United Nations
- Wateraid - mission is to overcome poverty by enabling the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education
- World Service Enquiry - information and advice about working overseas in developing countries