Help your local or global community

The University of Manchester has the largest staff, student and alumni community in the UK. Together we can make this a positive force for change.

Scroll through the opportunities with our partner organisations below to find a volunteering programme that suits your interests and skills.

Become a school governor

We have partnered with Governors for Schools, a national charity committed to ensuring excellent education. They have helped hundreds of alumni find a school that needs their skills.

Thousands of schools across England and Wales need alumni like you to support school improvement as a governor. You don’t need to work in education to make a difference for the next generation.

In this board level role, you’ll be able to develop your leadership skills. You’ll ask challenging questions, make sure money is well spent and help the school make decisions.

If you are already a school or college governor and wish to join our governor alumni community, please email alumni.volunteer@manchester.ac.uk with your name, date of birth and when you started your governor role. This will enable us to share relevant information with you.

 

Give translation support to global charities

Translators without Borders (TWB) is a non-profit organisation which offers language and translation support for humanitarian and development agencies on a global scale. 

You can volunteer with TWB if you are fluent in at least one language other than your native language. Whether you’re interested in translating medical texts or translating for crisis response, there are interesting projects available to suit you.

Draw a map to provide support to remote settlements in crises

Community Mapping

Community Mapping is an organisation based in the School of Environment, Education and Development with a goal to create maps of previously un-mapped areas of the world, in order to help address chronic humanitarian crises.

Volunteers are needed to fill in blanks on the map by drawing around buildings, roads, and other visible features in satellite images. This results in digital and paper maps that are freely available to local people.

This work began in the Acholi Sub-Region of Northern Uganda, where they use these maps to provide prosthetic limbs to the many thousands of people who lost arms and legs during a conflict that ravaged the region for over 20 years. 

In addition to the delivery of prosthetic limbs, these maps have also been used for a variety of other purposes, including:

  • the installation of Internet connections to dozens of health centres and hundreds schools in the region,
  • several medical programmes including the delivery of prosthetic services and cervical screening to remote communities,
  • the creation of new water supplies in order to reduce inequality in access to clean drinking water across the region.

You can volunteer as much time as you want to give, and all you need is a tablet or a computer which you can use from the comfort of your own home.

Missing Maps

Each year, disasters around the world kill nearly 100,000 and affect or displace 200 million people. Many of the places where these disasters occur are literally ‘missing’ from any map and first responders lack the information to make valuable decisions regarding relief efforts. 

Missing Maps is an open, collaborative project in which you can help to map areas where humanitarian organisations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

How you can help:

  1. Remote volunteers trace satellite imagery into OpenStreetMap
  2. Community volunteers add local detail such as neighbourhoods, street names, and evacuation centres
  3. Humanitarian organizations use mapped information to plan risk reduction and disaster response activities that save lives 

Give children in need the gift of a smile

Post Pals is a small charity run solely by volunteers who are dedicated to making seriously ill children smile by sending cards, letters, little gifts, support and friendship.

Post Pals supports children aged 3 to 17 in the UK and was set up in 2002 by teenagers who were all ill themselves. Founder Vikki had the idea after finding that receiving cards in the post was the only thing that made her smile when bedbound and isolated due to very severe ME.

The concept is simple, they feature children on the website with a forwarding address, their interests and stories, and invite members of the public from around the world to send cheerful post. Volunteers range from toddlers drawing pictures, right up to an 106 year old who knitted finger puppets!

Identify endangered animals around the world

Founded in 1826, Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a global conservation charity with a mission to conserve the planet’s wildlife and their habitats.

ZSL’s Instant Wild platform empowers you to take part in vital conservation work by bringing you live images and videos from amazing locations all around the world for you to identify.

You don’t need any special expertise to take part – help is provided in their handy Field Guides – simply sign up and start tagging the animals you see images.

Your involvement will not only contribute to conservation but you’ll also get a window into the some of the world’s wildest places.

Address worldwide sustainable development challenges

The United Nations Online Volunteers programme allows organisations and volunteers to address sustainable development challenges – anywhere in the world. Online volunteering is fast, easy – and most of all, effective.

There are about 90 different projects you can sign up to take part in, such as:

  • creating social media graphics,
  • translating documents,
  • researching fundraising opportunities.

Some opportunities require specialist knowledge, but lots are available to anyone.

Contribute to research projects worldwide

Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research.

This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world come together to assist professional researchers. This research has resulted in new discoveries and many academic publications.

You don’t need any specialised background, training, or expertise to participate in any Zooniverse projects. They make it easy for you to contribute to real academic research, on your own computer, at your own convenience.

There are over 90 research projects you can sign up to take part in today, such as:

  • categorising images of faraway galaxies,
  • transcribing historical records and diaries,
  • reviewing videos of animals in their natural habitats.

By volunteering with Zooniverse, you’ll help contribute to our understanding of our history and our Universe.

Develop linguistic resources for language technology

The Phrase Detectives game has been developed as a fun way for you to collaborate in creating large linguistic resources that will be used to further language technology used on the Internet, in business and on home computers.

It’s an example of a ‘Game With A Purpose’. When you play Phrase Detectives, you’ll be asked your opinion of how phrases in texts refer to each other. By indicating relationships between words and phrases you’ll help to create a resource that is rich in linguistic information.

Create audiobooks for free access

LibriVox volunteers read and record chapters of books which were published over 95 years ago, and no longer under copyright in the USA. The audiobooks are then made available for free on the Internet.

You don’t need any prior experience to volunteer for LibriVox. All you need is your voice, some free software, your computer, and maybe an inexpensive microphone.

There are a number of different types of projects:

  • collaborative: many volunteers contribute chapters of a long text
  • solo: one volunteer reads an entire book
  • short works (prose and poetry): short works and poetry!
  • dramatic works: “actors” record parts, all edited together.
  • other languages: projects in languages other than English.

How we use your information

The University of Manchester Division of Development and Alumni Relations (DDAR) processes personal information in accordance with all relevant data protection legislation. Our Privacy Notice is available here; and further information about data protection at the University is available here. Please tell us how you want to hear from DDAR by contacting us on alumni@manchester.ac.uk or +44 (0)161 306 3066; if you are a graduate you can also manage your personal information online at https://network.manchester.ac.uk/.