Common questions about volunteering, with quotes from current and former volunteers.
We can’t describe a typical volunteer. There’s no such person. Everyone has their reasons.
Maybe you’ve got grades and need experience. Or have experience but fancy a change. Perhaps it’s just for the love of doing it.
Whatever the reason, we’re sure that you’ll share our love for the environment and be a great team player.
What sort of work will I be doing?
Volunteers help us with lots of different work - from event planning to phoning MPs to developing online games, and much more.
We'll aim to match you to a role which excites you and gets the most out of your skills - helping you develop new ones too.
What will I get out of it?
Our volunteers don't work for nothing - but it's best to ask them what they get out of it.
What can I do after volunteering?
Quite a few of our volunteers end up with paid work at environmental organisations. You'll be surprised how many of us here are 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
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.
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.
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
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.