January 12, 2013 @ 2:19 pm - posted by Liz

Though much of the world seems to revolve around money, it is actually a helping hand that can be priceless. Volunteering one’s time to a worthy cause on your career break or sabbatical is wholly fulfilling and a fantastic way to show you truly care.

Much of the world is in a dire state of disorder, with deforestation, mining stripping lands of water and other valuable resources, endangered species, scarce food supplies, and other horrific instances where, if not conserved and reversed, the lands and its residents may not be around for much longer.

Even closer to home in the UK, there are countless environmental projects which could use a helping hand. Monetary donations are always helpful, but volunteering one’s time on your Career break or Sabbatical to make a hands-on difference is how the world truly changes. Of course, with so many environmental regulations, tax and insurance implications, and other considerations, the average person cannot simply pack up and go. There is much one needs to learn about the volunteering process before you head of on your Career Break or Sabbatical.

Finding the Right Cause

As an Individual thinking about volunteering, you are tasked with asking yourself a very important, very honest question: “What affects me personally?”

Malnourished children in third-world countries, picturesque lands being completely stripped and decimated, species after species becoming extinct, war-torn areas ravaged and left in ruin, and the list can go on for days – any one of these situations requires immediate help.

The idea here is to make a difference where you can. Meeting other volunteers and learning what it is like to truly strive for change will bring focus to what is most important for you, and where you can help bring about true change. Any cause is a worthy cause; go in the direction your heart pulls you. Go where your help is needed.

Becoming a Volunteer

Though it is most certainly not outside the realm of possibility to create your own volunteer organisation for conservation purposes, there are a wide range of different organisations you can work through to ease the process while planning your career break or sabbatical.

Getting in contact with and going through a particular organisation will help to narrow your focus. You will learn what needs to be done, where it needs to be done, and arrangements may be handled—organisation-dependent—for you and/or your group. In other words: You can go through an organisation and fit right in with the system – a cog in a fully functioning wheel, working hard to get the job done.

Organisations like GO London, Action Earth, any CSV Environment office, The Conservation Volunteers, National Trust, and dozens of other worthy organisations, both private and public, all contain information pertinent to the process and all can help assist you in becoming a volunteer in your home nation or in another part of the world.

What to Consider

  • Length of Projects: How much time are you planning to spend as a volunteer? Travelling to work with downtrodden children or on conservation projects is not exactly a weekend hobby. It is a commitment. Consider the length of time you are willing to invest, and be realistic about the commitment you can physically make. For local projects, regularly volunteering for shorter periods is ideal, whereas longer commitments are obviously required for international ventures.


  • Costs: Volunteering does require money. Money is needed to cover travel, food, accommodations, and other expenses. If you are planning on solely donating money, consider a charity’s particular needs in these regarand other expenses, and subsequently help out where needed.


  • Insurance Implications: Finding out how insurance is handled on a volunteer excursion is essential. If you are insured through an employer, a claim may not cover a volunteering stint. Learning the insurance implications is important for any volunteer.


  • Unfamiliar Territory: The world has many dangers, be it a hostile mining force looking to protect its investment, a troop of soldiers in a war-torn area, or even a myriad of illnesses. Research any location thoroughly before you volunteer. Be fully aware of your surroundings.


Volunteering can make a difference in your life while also making an even bigger difference in someone else’s. If you have considered volunteering before, we ask you only to follow through and make that difference.

For more details on volunteering check out Choosing the right Volunteer Project, Volunteering with Conservation Projects and Volunteering with Humanitarian Projects.

About Liz

At the age of 39, Liz quit the 'Corporate World', downsized her life and followed her heart. Upon her return she set up CareerBreak360 with Robert to help others achieve their Career Break dreams.

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