I know this is a fairly broad question, but I am looking for a resource that lists volunteering opportunities with local charities when travelling overseas or an organisation that does something similar. Sites for local charities probably will list how to get involved; what I am specifically looking for are places that accept short-term (couple of weeks or months) involvement. Not a problem if the opportunities are unpaid (because most tourist visas don't allow employment).

EDIT: Mark's pointed out a pet-peeve: searching online often yields companies that expect payment in return for arranging volunteerships. Not interested in those.

  • 4
    You might be surprised to learn that in many if not most cases it is not technically legal to even volunteer on a tourist visa so make sure you clear that up! Sep 2, 2011 at 13:49
  • I'm a little bit confused by the term overseas. Those this just mean in another country than in the country that you're are leaving? Or is the meaning really, over a sea? Depending on the viewpoint of the reader this could be varying. Sep 15, 2011 at 8:23
  • @Roflcopter: I meant 'any country I'm not residing in'. Sep 15, 2011 at 9:06

3 Answers 3


I might do my volunteering AFTER I arrived at my target city. And then walk in to the site of my choice.

The director of an institution has a choice of two volunteers, both of whom are foreign, and speaks English better than the local language: Someone who has called or emailed him or her, leaving a message, or someone who's sitting in front of him/her, and (presumably) has made a good impression. One of these candidates probably has a much better chance than the other. Plus the fact that you will get to "interview" the director and institution as well.


I find googling often yields annoying companies that want to charge you to volunteer. However someone gave me this resource for South America that is amazingly detailed and covers just about every option or country you could think of in that area of the world. Hope it's of interest / benefit:



You're not mentioning where you are going, specifically. Websites like what you are searching for do exist, for some regions and locations, but focus on that region or location only. So, where are you going?

Also, as has been pointed out, you're typically much better off, looking for a volunteer position after you've arrived at your destination. Particularly in less developed countries, assuming that's where you are thinking of heading, there are typically plenty of options, though, for less developed countries, online resources will be scant. But, it all depends on where you are going.

  • I didn't specifically ask about a particular country because I assumed I would need to apply for a work visa in advance (and therefore, I would need to find out beforehand what countries I am eligible to work in first). Apr 24, 2012 at 9:40
  • Understandable. Still, I would think your approach too general. I'd advise to consider one country, or a few countries in the same region and focus your attention there. Also, if you plan to volunteer, work without pay, work visas are often not really too important, in practice. For most countries, and developing countries in particular, getting a work visa tends to be a hassle as well as expensive, meaning the local organization that might be interested in you will be hard pressed to follow through with getting you one, for a short stint. So, again, my advise, first pick your region :)
    – MastaBaba
    Apr 25, 2012 at 11:52

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