Seed mix spreading by RSPB staff and volunteers, part of Cirl Bunting protection, RSPB Labrador Bay nature reserve, Devon

About volunteering

We have more than 12,000 fantastic volunteers and they come from all walks of life.

Volunteering with us

We have more than 12,000 fantastic volunteers and between them, they contribute almost one million hours every year! Our volunteering roles can be tailored to your skills, interests and circumstances.

You do not have to be an RSPB member to volunteer with us.

If you are younger than 18, we need the permission of your parent or guardian before we can take you on as a volunteer.

You don’t have to be a bird or wildlife expert to volunteer for us. There are many ways you can get involved with our work. If you don't know a robin from a redwing, it really doesn't matter.

Where can I volunteer?

Wherever suits you! Choose from:

  • Your home
  • Your local community
  • Outdoors or indoors on our nature reserves
  • Your nearest RSPB office
  • Abroad

A little time makes a world of difference

You can give as much or as little time as you like. Any time you can spare will be hugely appreciated and will help our vital work for birds, other wildlife and the environment.

It's fun!

As a volunteer you can meet new people, learn new skills, improve your CV, see and help fantastic wildlife and get fit. It's also a great way to work towards a career in conservation. Search this section to find a role which suits you. 

Membership Recruitment course for volunteers. Ribble Estuary, Marshside RSPB reserve

"The outlook and attitude of the staff makes the RSPB a very easy organisation to volunteer for. Everyone is very friendly and accommodating. You are made to feel part of the team and trusted. You are given something you want to do and, in my experience, then left alone to deliver which is great."

Colin Hawkins, Community Fundraising volunteer, The Lodge, Sandy

Frequently asked questions

Thank you for your interest in volunteering.

Hopefully we answer any questions you have in the information below. If not, please contact us. 

Is there an upper or lower age limit?

No, there is no age limit. Our youngest volunteer is eight years old and our oldest is more than 100 years old. No matter what your age there will be a volunteering opportunity for you. However, if you would like to be a residential volunteer, you need to be at least 16 years old (18 on some sites).

If you are younger than 18, we do ask that your parent or guardian gives permission for you to become a volunteer. 

If you are from overseas, to be a residential volunteer you need to be aged 18 or older and be a citizen of the EU or EEA (see more information below).

What support will I receive?

Support for our volunteers is something we take very seriously. Whatever roles you do for us, we will ensure you have what you need to do them successfully.

As a volunteer, you will have a dedicated person to help and support you in your role. We pride ourselves on making volunteers part of our team. 

Ninety per cent of our volunteers would recommend volunteering with us to a friend or family member, so we must be doing something right!

Will it cost me anything to become a volunteer?

No. Because you'll be giving up your time, it's only fair that we offer to reimburse your travel expenses and any other expenses agreed with your manager.

Please note that you cannot claim travel expenses for residential volunteering – we provide accommodation instead.

How long will I have to commit for?

As a volunteer, you are free to leave whenever you like. If other people depend on you, we will ask you to give your RSPB contact reasonable warning if you cannot come in.

What training will I get?

That depends on what you do for us. We will train you to ensure you are able to carry out your volunteering role.

Some roles, such as our membership recruiters, require specific training. Others may require little formal training. The contact for each volunteer opportunity will be able to give you more details.

How do I get a career in conservation?

If you're considering a career in conservation, please visit our Phoenix pages. This section is written for teenagers but it offers some useful information for all job seekers, no matter what your age.

Will I/my group be insured?

Yes. Just like our staff, you will be covered by our insurance policies for any activities you undertake on our behalf.

I am receiving Welfare Benefits - am I allowed to volunteer?

Yes. The benefits regulations are very clear that you can volunteer. 

The latest information on volunteering while receiving benefits can be found on the government's website.

I have a criminal record - does this mean that I can't do voluntary work?

No, a criminal record should not bar you from volunteering with us, although it may limit the things you are able to do.

If you wish to make a confidential enquiry, please give the Volunteering Development Department a call on 01767 680551.

Can I volunteer if I have a disability?

Yes, we will always try to do all we can to accommodate your needs so you can volunteer with us. Many people with a disability already do.

Can I volunteer if I am from a European Union (EU) member country?

Yes, there are no restrictions on volunteering if you are from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Can I volunteer if I am from the European Economic Area (EEA)?

Yes, the same freedom to volunteer is extended to nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which are members of the European Economic Area. 

Do you accept volunteers from other countries?

Yes, but only on our residential volunteering scheme and only if you are aged 18 or older. Unfortunately, UK immigration legislation means we can only accept volunteers from the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.

If you are from any other country, unfortunately you will not be able to volunteer with us.

I am not a British National but am currently in the UK. Can I volunteer in the UK?

Possibly, but we strongly advise you check with the UK Borders Agency that your visa allows you to volunteer while you are in the UK. We cannot provide advice on this as we would not wish to jeopardise your visa status in the UK by giving you incorrect information.

You can find contact details on the UK Border Agency.

The telephone number for their immigration enquiry bureau is: 0870 606 7766