Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon

How do I get involved?

If you are an University of Otago student, staff or alumni, you can search through the opportunities on our Facebook pages or keep an eye out on our Current roles to see what's available.

What if I'm not sure I have enough time to volunteer?

We know students have to juggle many commitments. We therefore try to have as wide a range of volunteer roles as possible so there is something for everyone, no matter what your availability.

Whether you only have a couple of hours to volunteer at a one-off event, or a free afternoon every week to help at a food bank, we hope to help you find something that interests you.

Many of our roles can take place at a time that is convenient for you (e.g. on evenings or weekends). There is also a rise in 'virtual' or 'e'-volunteer roles, which you can fulfil at home and in your own time. Examples include editing documents and websites, translating, interpretation over the phone, and many others.

What can I offer a volunteer organisation?

Students are particularly cherished as volunteers. Organisations say that students:

  • Bring young energy and vitality
  • Bring new ideas and experience with technology
  • Look at old problems through fresh eyes
  • Help get the job done
  • Provide skills and labour that are in short supply
  • Add diversity the team

So even if you haven't volunteered before, you still have a lot to contribute. Many of our volunteer roles simply need a positive attitude and a little bit of time.

What do I need to think about before I decide to volunteer?

Consider why you are volunteering and what you would most enjoy doing as a volunteer. Also think about what you would like to gain from your experience. Then, you choose a role accordingly, because happy volunteers get more out of their experiences.

How much volunteering can I do?

The choice is yours but make sure you take a realistic approach to having a healthy work/life balance. Do not over-commit yourself for volunteering if you are not sure you have the time or energy to give.

What kind of volunteering can I do?

The possibilities are endless but to give you a taste of the range of possibilities, you could:

  • Volunteer with a major charity (e.g. Red Cross, World Vision, Oxfam)
  • Work on a local project (e.g. a local committee, recycling centre, ...)
  • Volunteer online (proofreading, translating, editing,)
  • Help out with one-off events (e.g. Relay for Life, Midwinter Carnival)
  • Be a mentor to a young person
  • Coach a team in your favourite sport
  • Help an organisation with marketing, design or new media

What skills do you need to volunteer?

If a volunteer is expected to have a particular skill, this will be outlined on the role description. Many organisations will train volunteers in specific areas if they do not have prior knowledge.

Otherwise, bring your best smile and a healthy dose of enthusiasm.

What can I expect from the organisation?

Community organisations registered with the University Volunteer Centre and Social Impact Studio initiatives agree to provide:

  • An outline or description of your volunteer role
  • An orientation/introduction to the organisation and your role
  • Specialised training, if required
  • Appropriate supervision
  • Personal development opportunities

What if my volunteering question isn't answered here?

Feel free to attend a drop-in session at the Social Impact Studio to see the studio's manager, Sze-En Watts. Drop-in sessions are Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30–11:30am. You can also email Sze-En at

Back to top