Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity. Not only can you make a positive difference in a community that matters to you, or give a helping hand where it is needed the most. Volunteering is also a great way to get your first “working experience”, something you can put on your resume, something that will make your life easier in job interviews later on. Last but not least, you can volunteer in nice places and meet interesting people from all around the world.

It sounds almost like a fairy tale, and sometimes it really is (not always though), but before you can embark on this adventure you also typically have to pass the selection process. And if we talk about the best volunteering opportunities, you can be sure to compete with many applicants for each open spot. Regardless of the opportunity you apply for, the people responsible for the selection of applicants will always wonder why. Why do you want to volunteer, and why with their organization. It isn’t the most difficult question in the world, but it isn’t an easy one either, especially if you try to stand out with your answer.

Before we look at 7 sample answers, let me give you two quick tips. First one: Try to be specific. It doesn’t sound too bad saying that you want to support a good cause (and that’s why you want to volunteer), but it sounds even better if you can name the cause, and why that particular cause matters to you. I also suggest you to say something about their organization. Second: Try to be realistic. While you may experience many nice things & meetings as a volunteer, it is still work, and often in tough conditions. They shouldn’t get an impression that you are in for nice holidays while volunteering for them. Let’s have a look at the answers.


7 sample answers to “Why do you want to volunteer?” interview question

  1. I want to volunteer because I am very concerned about this war in Ukraine. War is always bad, but the people affected should not be limited to mere numbers in the statistics of casualties or refugees. They are people with lives, just like the lives we have, each with their own story. I want to be there, on the borders, helping them to continue living with some dignity, and to get through this terrible period. It is a calling I feel, and though I know it isn’t going to be easy, and I may see terrible things, I want to volunteer with your organization and make good things happen.
  2. I dream of volunteering in your hostel, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I really love the city of Seville. Always wanted to spend some time in the city, and explore the cultural variety it has to offer. Volunteering for your hostel will allow me to live there for two months, and pay for accommodation and some food just with my work. For a student this is a fantastic opportunity. The second reason is your place, and the reviews it got from guests. I checked the reviews on all major platforms, and I must say that I would be proud to work for such a great hostel. No doubt I will learn a lot as well, and improve on my Spanish language skills along the way.
  3. I just feel it is right to give something back to the races that have given so much to me. Since I am injured, I cannot compete in the running competitions this year. But I have the first-hand experience, know what the runners need on such a long distance, and I also have free weekends and want to spend them in a meaningful way. Volunteering for you and helping at the races you organize seems to me like a perfect way to spend my weekends.
  4. To be completely honest with you, my main motivation is to get some experience for my resume. I believe that volunteering at the Zoo will help me a lot once I try to get a place at vet school. The application process gets more competitive each year, and unless you have amazing GPA (which I do not have), you need something special on your resume, to have a chance to get in. On the top of that, I love animals, and I do not mind dirty work. Spending a summer here volunteering seems like a great idea for me, and I really hope you will give me a chance to prove my motivation in the job.
  5. I want to volunteer to for your NGO to help to save the planet. As simple as that. In my opinion, only acts can change something, and stop the global warming. Talking about it isn’t sufficient. Of course, no individual can change the course of things in the world alone. But I also believe that organizations like yours do make a difference, that reforestation is important, and that volunteering for your is the best thing I can do with my free time.
  6. I want to get something out of this opportunity, but I also want to give something. Reading the reports about your camps from last summer, I know that many young people from different countries meet here. And I think it will be an invaluable experience to belong to such a team, to learn from them. That’s what I want to get. And what I want to give? I believe I am great with children. They enjoy my company, and I have the energy to play with them all day long. I feel that I can be the volunteer they will remember after their summer camp, and that’s why I picked this opportunity and not another one.
  7. I want to volunteer at this hospital because at the moment it is the most I can do for the patients. One day I hope to earn a degree, and perhaps work here as a nurse. Until it happens however, I have to satiate my desire to help in another way. Volunteering here, and doing whatever I can to make the stay of patients more pleasant, or at least tolerable, is an idea which fills me with joy, though I know no days will be easy here. But here I am, full of ideals, and motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of your patients.


Final thoughts

Don’t forget on enthusiasm in your voice, should you deal with this question in an interview. Also make sure that you understand the volunteering offer properly, and do not talk about some unrealistic wishes while explaining why you decided to apply. Researching about the organization will also help, not only with this question. As I said at the beginning of this post, the more specific you are in your answer, the better. And in order to be specific and to make sure your answer makes sense, it is important to know the details of the offer, and to do a good research.

I hope that by now you know what to write or say when they inquire about your motives. If you want to prepare also for other questions you may face, check our article on all volunteer interview questions. Thank you, and good luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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