The art of volunteering has a rich history spanning thousands of years. While its roots may not lie in Australia, it’s deeply ingrained in our culture, particularly within our First Nations community, where it was viewed as a necessity for cultural survival and collective responsibility among people in their communities. Volunteering involves dedicating your time, effort, and skills for the common good. But it’s not just about giving – it’s also about what you gain. By volunteering, you can acquire new skills, gain valuable experiences, meet new people, and even find a new purpose in life.

Here in Australia, Volunteering Australia, fondly known as the Red V, has been championing volunteering for over 25 years. As National Volunteer Week approaches (running from May 20-26th), under the theme of ‘Something for Everyone’, it’s time to celebrate volunteers’ profound impact on society and explore how you can get involved. Here’s how you can get involved:


1. Search for opportunities online

Cheerful team of female soccer players celebrating victory and carrying on of teammates who is shouting out

Volunteering Australia has a bespoke platform – Go Volunteer – specifically designed to help you find the perfect match based on your skills, availability, location and interest. With opportunities ranging from one-off, short-term to long-term, there truly is something for everyone! If you haven’t found what you’re looking for there, explore other employment platforms like Seek and Indeed, which both include specific volunteer listings.


2. Keep it local

Whether it’s your local sporting club, school or community centre, organisations closer to home always need an extra pair of hands to lighten the load. Resources and funding are often tight, particularly in women’s sports teams, so consider whether you can lend some time helping out a team with admin or even coaching. Studies have shown that volunteer assistance increases the participation of women and girls exponentially – so it’s one area where you can really make a difference.


3. Feed the less fortunate

Having food on the table is something many of us take for granted, but unfortunately, recent studies have shown that 1 in 3 Australian households have struggled to do so in the last 12 months. Getting involved in not-for-profit food providers like Food Bank Australia or OzHarvest will directly help fill the tummies of the hungry. Both organisations rely heavily on volunteer help for labelling, packing, and distributing food, and no specific skills are required.


4. Make an impact with community events

Caring female nurse caregiver hold hand support disabled elder woman patient sit on wheelchair at home hospital

Community events lean on volunteers to reduce costs and build connections; without them, many community events simply wouldn’t happen. It’s a great way to strengthen your ties locally and give back within your neighbourhood. Volunteers at community events are needed for all sorts of roles – from providing people power to help with set up or pack down, behind-the-scenes assistance to ensure events run smoothly or assisting people with mobility impairments to move around. However you can help, you will be valued.


5. Give the environment some TLC

Diverse Group of People Picking Up Trash in The Park Volunteer Community Service

It’s no secret the environment desperately needs some TLC, and many of our environmental conservation organisations are not-for-profit and run almost entirely by volunteers. If it’s something you’d like to get behind, Conservation Volunteers Australia is one of the largest and most committed in the sector. Their work focusses on restoring biodiversity in our rivers, oceans, and wetlands to strengthen overall climate resilience. Their volunteer portal makes it easy to get involved in local projects. Alternatively, the Australian Conservation Foundation is a national organisation that constantly welcomes volunteers to join their local groups.


6. Step up in an emergency

With the climate shifting and natural disasters like floods, bushfires, and cyclones becoming more frequent, our emergency services are becoming increasingly overwhelmed and need additional support. As a result, emergency support volunteers now play a vital role in the longer-term community recovery. As a volunteer, you won’t be thrust onto the frontline or need specialist skills. You’ll become part of a valuable network called upon to assist with preparation or recovery after immediate response teams have done all they can.


7. Support your local animal shelter

Interested young girl standing near cages for homeless cats in animal shelter, talking to female volunteer

Animal lovers can get a serious dose of the warm fuzzies by volunteering at a local animal shelter. It’s perfect if you adore animals but can’t have any of your own or simply can’t get enough of being surrounded by pet chaos. RSPCA Australia has locations in each state, with volunteers forming a huge part of the day-to-day running, care, and clean-up needed to keep the wheels turning. Be warned, this is one job that might follow you home!


8. Get behind a meaningful charity

If there’s a charity close to your heart, explore how you could assist them in doing more of their good work. The Australian Government has a helpful resource called the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), which provides guidance on connecting people with registered charities needing a helping hand. Opportunities range from preparing food to becoming a board member or visiting the elderly. The ACNC is a great place to start exploring what’s available.


Do good, feel good

From soup kitchens to planting trees and everything in between, there are plenty of ways to get involved and help make a positive impact on society. Volunteering doesn’t stop at National Volunteer Week; it is something you can actively participate in throughout your life and reap the benefits of connection, purpose, and positive change.


First National Real Estate is closely involved with every neighbourhood we operate within and actively participates in strengthening our local communities. Our dedicated philanthropic arm – The First National Foundation consolidates fundraising efforts across our networks, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to help communities in crisis.


The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial, or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial, or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.