What are the different types of volunteering?

For those considering offering their time and skills for the betterment of others, we explore the various types of volunteering, its implications, and the profound effects it can have on both individuals and communities.

1. Formal volunteering

Formal volunteering is typically structured and occurs within an organisation or establishment. These volunteers often commit to regular hours and receive training to ensure they're well-equipped for their roles.

Examples of formal volunteering

  • Assisting in hospitals,
  • Working in charity shops
  • Teaching in community centres

2. Informal volunteering

Informal volunteering is less structured and may not be associated with any particular organisation. It can be spontaneous or sporadic based on an individual's availability.

Examples of informal volunteering

  • Helping neighbours with chores
  • Tutoring a friend's child in a particular subject.

3. Social action

Social action is about creating lasting change in the community. It involves individuals or groups working together towards a shared goal or cause.

Examples social action

  • Organising a neighbourhood cleanup
  • Campaigning for local issues

4. Skill-based volunteering

This involves professionals offering their specific expertise for free to organisations or individuals who might benefit from it.

Examples of skills-based volunteering

  • A web developer creating a website for a charity
  • A lawyer offering pro bono legal advice

5. Virtual volunteering

In today's digital age, the internet has paved the way for volunteers to contribute remotely. Virtual volunteering allows individuals to support causes worldwide without physical presence.

Examples of virtual volunteering

  • Online tutoring
  • Digital marketing for non-profits
  • Remote project management

6. Environmental volunteering

Environmental volunteers are dedicated to conserving the planet. Their actions range from hands-on fieldwork to advocacy.

Examples of environmental volunteering

  • Tree planting
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Campaigning against climate change

7. Event volunteering

This involves helping organise and run events, usually for charitable causes.

Examples of event volunteering

  • Assisting in marathons
  • Helping out at charity galas
  • Supporting community fairs

The impact of volunteering on the community

Communities thrive when individuals come together for a shared purpose. Volunteering not only benefits the receivers but also imparts a sense of purpose and connection among those who volunteer. It fosters community spirit, bridges gaps, and establishes networks of support and cooperation.

Deciding on the right volunteering opportunity

When choosing a volunteering avenue, consider:

  1. Your personal interests and passions.
  2. The skills you bring to the table.
  3. The amount of time you can commit.
  4. The kind of impact you wish to make.


Volunteering is a multifaceted endeavour, with numerous avenues catering to various interests, skills, and commitments. Regardless of the type, the essence remains the same: selflessly contributing to the greater good. Exploring these avenues helps in understanding where one's passion and expertise can be most effectively channelled. Remember, every act of volunteering, irrespective of its scale, contributes to a broader tapestry of societal growth and cohesion.

Want to volunteer but don't know where to get started? Download our app for volunteering today and find a range of volunteering opportunities near you!

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