Volunteering Q&A's

Common questions about volunteering, with quotes from current and former volunteers.

Who volunteers at Friends of the Earth?

Anyone. But especially people who:

  • Are interested in environmental issues and are committed to the aims and objectives of Friends of the Earth
  • Enjoy working with others and are able to work effectively as part of a team
  • Are willing to perform routine administrative and clerical tasks
  • Have a flexible approach to work
  • Are able to work on their own initiative
  • Are willing to make a regular commitment of at least two days per week for at least three months.

The following skills are also useful:

  • Keyboard/typing skills
  • Experience of word processing, databases and spreadsheets
  • Knowledge of environmental issues.

What's in it for you?

We recognize that people have many different reasons for wanting to volunteer and we try to meet individual needs.

Volunteering at Friends of the Earth enables you to:

  • Play an important part in the success of the UK 's leading environmental pressure group
  • Make use of your existing skills to help further Friends of the Earth's success
  • Develop new skills and gain valuable work experience which will lead to further personal development and help when applying for paid work
  • Learn more about environmental issues and gain an insight into the working of a large campaigning organization
  • Get actively involved in campaigning to protect the environment in your local area
  • Make new friends and meet like-minded people

Expenses

Volunteers can claim for travel expenses, plus lunch if you work more than five hours per day. In London, the maximum is £20 per day for both travel and lunch - of which £5 maximum is for the lunch.

Training

There are opportunities for volunteers to go on training courses if they are necessary for their work. We run regular computer training courses at our London office. Volunteers may also be invited to attend our induction course.

Working hours

Normal working hours are 9.30am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday. There is flexibility for volunteers to arrange mutually convenient days and times with their manager. However, we need volunteers to agree to regular hours each week and be committed to sticking to these hours.

The application form

If you wish to be considered for voluntary work at Friends of the Earth's London office or one of the regional offices you will need to fill out one of our Volunteer application forms (PDF† - 100K)

We have introduced this standard application form in order:

  • To assess more effectively what skills and experience you have and how these can be matched to available volunteering opportunities.
  • To introduce a degree of fairness in the way we assess applications for voluntary work. Using a standard application form will enable us to make decisions about offering voluntary work based on the same information from all applicants.

Filling out the form

When filling out the form, please provide us with as much information as possible. Please post it to the office at which you want to volunteer.

How do we allocate voluntary work?

Wherever possible we aim to identify specific roles for volunteers which will provide an opportunity for learning and developing skills. Past experience has taught us that volunteering works best when there is a good match between the needs and interests of the volunteer and the needs of the Friends of the Earth. Therefore, when placing volunteers we are not just interested in what the volunteer can offer us in terms of skills and commitment, but also our ability to meet the volunteer's needs and expectations.

Once we've received your completed application form it will be placed on file where it's accessible to volunteer managers. When we need to recruit a new volunteer we look through all current applications to select those most suitable for the work in question.

When a suitable volunteer work placement becomes available, a member of staff will invite you for an informal interview; often this may take some time, so please be patient.

The purpose of the interview is:

  • For you to find out more about the work on offer and about volunteering at Friends of the Earth.
  • For us to find out more about your motivation for volunteering and your suitability for the work available.

The final decision about who's offered the work will be based on the following criteria:

  • Relevant skills and experience required for the work
  • The volunteer's availability and commitment
  • The volunteer's motivation and Friends of the Earth's ability to meet the needs of the volunteer through the work on offer.

How long will my details be kept on file?

At Friends of the Earth we rely on and greatly appreciate the hard work volunteers carry out for the organisation. Unfortunately, due to a high level of interest, we are unable to offer work to every applicant.

When your application has been on file for 3 months you'll be contacted by the volunteer coordinator to ask if you would like your application to remain on file for a further 3 months.

What our volunteers have to say

"I wanted a career change after 10 years in telecomms. I wanted to work for an organisation that meant something to me." - Tom Wright, former volunteer
"I’m here to learn how an NGO works and contribute to the causes I believe in." - Joanna Lymboussis, economics volunteer
"I’ve always been passionate about fighting inequality, however clichéd that might sound." - Lauren Lowe, rights and justice intern
"I've been working on the Final Demand campaign. We took the Government to court over cuts to renewable energy support. I was there at the High Court with my suit on!" - Stanley Knill, volunteer
"You’re a proper team member and your opinions count. The work is not only interesting but makes use of my qualifications in politics." - Lauren Lowe, rights and justice intern
"I do research on things like how land is used and the resources we're running out of." - Joanna Lymboussis, economics volunteer
"I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that what I’m doing is making a difference. I don’t get that from my other, paid job." - Abby Rudland, new media volunteer
"I don't think I'd be helping the London 2012 sustainability team if it weren't for the sense of purpose I've developed here." - Andrew South, new media volunteer
"At the time, volunteering meant a huge amount. It gave me the experience and the confidence I needed to change career." - Tom Wright, former volunteer
"I was offered the campaign assistant role after 5 months of volunteering and a year later I moved to my current role supporting our local group network." - Tom Wright, former volunteer
"I've been offered two really good jobs. One is with an environmental consultancy in the city." - Henrietta Dobson, former volunteer
"I know the experience and skills I’m gaining will be what other employers are looking for." - Lauren Lowe, rights and justice intern