Rosterfy catches up with Oxfam Great Britain's, Head of Volunteering, Elena Laguna to discuss her top tips for volunteer engagement.
Volunteering Outdoors - 7 Different Ways To Get Involved
We take a look at the ways in which volunteers can embrace volunteering from the great outdoors.
Sick of sitting behind a screen? There’s a big, wide world out there waiting to be explored, and outdoor volunteering is a great way to experience what the outdoors has to offer. From helping out at charity events to cleaning up your local beach, there are endless outdoor volunteer opportunities in your area.
Not only will you get to enjoy getting outside in nature, but you will be having a positive impact on your community, the environment and people in need. So try one of the following opportunities this summer, and experience the simple pleasure of volunteering outdoors first-hand, plus uncover some surprising benefits that come with volunteering!
What are the best outdoor volunteer opportunities?
It can be overwhelming when you look at all the problems our planet is facing, but it shouldn’t stop you from making an effort.
Registering as an outdoor volunteer gives you the chance to do something positive for the planet, while connecting with the world around you. The first step is to pick something meaningful to you and get involved.
If you love animals, outdoor events, nature and the environment, outdoor volunteering is the ideal way to combine passion with action.
Charity / Fundraiser Sporting Events
Want to gain experience in Events Management while giving back to the community? Many community sporting events such as fun runs, bike rides, charity walks, and mass participation events use events to help promote active lifestyles while raising vital funds - and they are always looking for volunteers to support them.
Volunteers may be assigned roles at drink stations, bag drop, registration, ticketing or way pointing. Most events require early starts and long periods on your feet, however they’re a fun way to gain vital experience and pick up some handy volunteer skills in the events industry.
Keep your local area beautiful by getting involved with a clean up day. In Australia, the first Sunday in March is officially Clean Up Australia Day, an environmental volunteering event encouraging everyone to get out there and clean the streets, beaches and parks.
Local conservation groups often run regular clean up days in their neighbourhood, or you could even organise your own event for your school, workplace or sports club.
Working with animals
Caring for animals is one of the most popular outdoor volunteering opportunities for anyone with a big heart and an affinity for animals.
Animal shelters are always looking for reliable volunteers to help care for cats and walk the dogs. If you have a lot of time and a suitable home, you may want to sign up to foster injured or neglected animals until they are ready to be released.
If you love the outdoors and inspiring kids of all ages, consider volunteering at a kids camp. A rewarding volunteering opportunity, you will be responsible for engaging kids in hands-on activities, games, crafts and sports as well as helping with meal times, set up and planning.
If you have a particular passion or hobby, you’ll probably find a themed camp in that field. These types of seasonal volunteer opportunities are perfect for university and college students as they are held during school holidays.
Another outdoor volunteering activity is to volunteer at a community garden, which is a great way to learn new skills about gardening and growing your own produce. You may help out with tasks such as sowing seeds, planting seedlings, watering, cleaning, harvesting, weeding and sign-making.
Most towns have a community garden so simply search online to find out when their next open day is.
Garden and environmental enthusiasts will love assisting with tree planting days. Tree planting days are environmental volunteering opportunities that involve the planting, aftercare and maintenance of plants to ensure they remain healthy.
Tree planters will need to have a good level of fitness and be willing to work outdoors in all weather conditions.
With such a vast range of outdoor volunteering opportunities available, there is plenty to choose from. However if none of these sound like your cup of tea, don’t worry! There are plenty of other types of volunteer opportunities out there.
Best Practices For Planning Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities
As any volunteer manager knows, managing a team of volunteers can be a very resource-intensive task. So take advantage of dedicated volunteer management software such as Rosterfy to help you, recruit, train, schedule and manage your outdoor volunteer opportunities.
Outdoor events in particular have specific challenges that you will need to plan for ahead of the event to ensure a safe environment for the health and well-being of all volunteers.
Sun Safety is Key
One of the first things you should consider when planning a volunteer event is how to deal with weather conditions. This includes having a plan B option for extreme heat or rain, ensuring there is adequate shade, seating and open space for the number of attendees.
Volunteers should be given access to sunscreen, hats and uniforms with sleeves and collars, and encouraged to get in touch if they are feeling unwell via two-way radios or phone.
Scheduling Regular Breaks
Make sure to schedule regular breaks when you are creating the roster so all volunteers are aware of their break time. Volunteers should be given the chance to rest their legs, eat, rehydrate and get out of the elements - whether it be heat, cold or rain. Having available work gear such as jackets, reusable water bottles, raincoats and hats, will be greatly appreciated by volunteers.
Provide water and shade
Your event may have the best setup and stunning views – but when it’s 40 degrees, having no shade or access to water for staff and volunteers is unforgivable. Unlimited access to cold water is an absolute must-have, and you can go the extra mile and order cool down stations, seating, portable shade areas and fans.
Volunteering outdoors is about more than just getting outside, it’s the perfect way to get involved with your community and make a positive impact on the environment.
How do I find local volunteer work?
With so many volunteer organisations looking for committed and passionate volunteers, you’ll be able to find a role that suits your interests, and allows you to pick up a few skills along the way too! And remember, you don’t have to give up your whole weekend, many opportunities are flexible and can fit into your schedule.
To find local outdoor volunteer work, start by checking out some of these sites:
For planning and execution of your next volunteer event, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, large or small, Rosterfy’s custom volunteer management solution can handle scheduling, recruiting, training, communication, check in and check out, plus reporting.
Get in touch with us to book a demo today.