You’ve done it. Seriously; you’ve got this. What started as a spontaneous move to the German capital is now a full-on stable kind of thing. You’ve got a job you like, (weird) friends to hang out and your flat is not half-bad. For some of us however, there is this little hole inside that is very hard to fill. A certain sense of un-resolution. That feeling has been there for a while but it’s only now that it strikes you.
Thinking about oneself is only so good for a time. What about others?
“Now that i have it good, i can certainly help others. I can give back with a bit of time and energy. I just need the right cause.” I have had that little conversation with myself for a while now, so it led me to think how i could volunteer in Berlin. I thought that this quest could be relevant to others as well. So here it goes.
Wait a minute; why should I volunteer in Berlin?
Volunteering comes in many forms, such as afterschool homework help, cleaning a park, or assisting refugees with integration, to name a few. It’s a way to give back to your community and support those less fortunate, while being the change you want to see happen. Not only that, but you’ll meet new people from all walks of life. A lot of expats and migrants get stuck in their expat bubble, struggling to make local connections. But if you volunteer Berlin might feel less like a giant metropolis and more like a welcoming home.
Get ouf of your comfort zone, meet new people and strengthen your soft-skills
Next to the social and charitable aspect, volunteering also helps you develop soft-skills that can make a difference in your personal and professional life. Does your CV need some more evidence of teamwork skills? Many projects require a group of strangers to work closely together, providing experience in team-building and multicultural communication.
There are many ways you can help depending on your interests, skills, resources, and what you want to achieve. You can:
- Turn your passions into workshops, teaching, activities and community events.
- Be the political or societal change in your community with local and national activism.
- Exchange your desk job for hands-on work outdoors, even if just for a few hours.
- Take a break from stressful clients and provide your professional services pro bono for non-profits and volunteer organizations.
These are all great reasons to find a volunteer opportunity in Berlin.
How can I find the cause that fits me?
Whether you’re a volunteer Berlin student, professional or concerned community member, your assistance is welcome. Some activities need specific skills, while others just need helpful hands. There are shortages for volunteers all around the city throughout the year, so your help is always appreciated.
Even if you only have a few hours on the weekend or once a month, you can always find some opportunity for volunteering in Berlin:
- Vostel: Whether you’re looking to volunteer, need helpers or want to organize something for your company, this platform can help. With the “Vostel-O-Mat” you can sort through activities by location, timeframe and level of German language skills. Choose from twenty different types of causes, such as work with seniors and children, or IT and finance support.
- Give Something Back to Berlin: This award-winning platform for volunteering in Berlin connects locals, migrants and refugees through meaningful projects, such as free and open music, food, language, art, yoga and more!
- Youvo: Are you a creative person? Many non-profit organizations are looking for pro bono assistance with video, photo, writing, design and digital projects. These skills are vital for putting social initiatives on the map, spreading the word and helping their causes succeed.
- Gute Tat: This German platform connects Berlin volunteers to hundreds of small and large projects for social engagement. Choose your interests and location to find a list of organizations in need of your assistance.
- Tbd*: Otherwise known as “The Changer”, this community is focused on supporting individuals and organizations that are changing the world.
- GoVolunteer: This platform aims to motivate social engagement and bring together locals and newcomers to actively build communities. You can sort the list of initiatives by your city, skillset, topic, availability and languages to find a good match to your interests.
If you are looking after some IRL vibes, you can also attend one of the annual volunteering events. They bring people together for a few focused days of volunteer work and offer information on ways to help the community.
- Berliner Freiwilligenbörse (Berlin volunteer market) in the spring
- Berliner Freiwilligentage (Berlin volunteer days) in the fall
- Berliner Engagementwoche (Berlin volunteer engagement week) in the fall
It doesn’t matter which event, activity or organization draws your attention, what matters is your willingness to put in some time and effort to help others. Every volunteer Berlin gets is a win for the city!
2 last things about the “when” in your volunteering experience: start small and take it from there. Don’t pressure yourself into complying to an opportunity if you don’t really have the time. Life gets in the way, we all get it. Also; believe it or not, the Christmas season is usually the best season for charities/causes because everybody wants to volunteer when the Christmas spirit is there. The rest of the year is a lot more difficult then. Keep that in mind and happy volunteering in Berlin!
How to find a volunteering opportunity in Berlin from abroad
If you live abroad, volunteering in Berlin could also constitute the start of a wonderful experience away from home. It’s a great way to meet new people, shape character and discover yourself. The platforms above still work to find a good cause to work for.
You can also look at specialized platforms like Worldpackers, which not only connects you with volunteering opportunities, but also hosts, where you can exchange your time & labor against accommodation. The platform lists social projects, NGOs, ecological projects among others. A membership grants unlimited acccess to verified hosts, security & transparency. It also connects you with a community, unique material & customer support to answer you practical questions around your experience.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments or provide new ideas to find a great volunteering opportunity in BerlinBastien