About us


Pod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation partnering animal sanctuaries, conservation projects and community initiatives around the world, to provide ethical, supported and inspiring volunteering opportunities

Pod Volunteer was founded in 2001 to give volunteers the opportunity to use their energy, enthusiasm and skills where it counts. We have sent over 7,000 volunteers overseas and this is what makes us different:

Volunteering specialist - we are focused exclusively on overseas volunteering, it’s all we do and what are passionate about.

Responsible volunteering approach - we only offer sustainable volunteering projects that have lasting and positive impact and where there is a genuine need for volunteers. Read more…

Hand-picked projects - independently selected and continuously assessed projects. We have developed long term relationships with carefully chosen projects and visit them regularly.

Expert team - our friendly team has a wealth of overseas volunteering and travel experience. We have all volunteered overseas and pride ourselves on our project and location knowledge.

Support through the volunteering journey - from helping you to prepare for volunteering and travelling overseas, to providing 24/7 back up while you are away, we are here to support you.

Structured to minimise costs and maximise benefits - as a non-profit organisation with associated charity, we can keep costs down for volunteers and maximise financial donations for the projects.

See our Awards page for how we have been recognised and accredited.

How it works

Pod Volunteer acts as a link between small charities overseas in need of help and people wishing to volunteer their time to do something worthwhile abroad.

Small charities do not normally have the time and resources to recruit volunteers, so we work in partnership with them to find and prepare volunteers and they can focus on their core charitable work.

We scour the globe for the best volunteering projects and then get to know them deeply through close relationships and visits. The projects offer carefully structured and well managed volunteering programmes where there is a genuine need for assistance. We are as accessible as possible and free from discrimination.

We are great believers in there being a two-way benefit exchange through:

  • The help you are providing to the project you will be working with
  • The rewards you will get from volunteering and helping to make a difference, whilst also enjoying an authentic and incredible travel experience!

How it all began

Pod Volunteer founders, Mike and Alex, have been friends since school and travelled together to Tanzania in 2001 where they volunteered and helped set up a small community charity in a very remote rural region. One of the big ideas that came out of this was to try and find more volunteers to keep the work going as they realised the charity would benefit from having volunteers all year round. The seed of Pod Volunteer was sown!

At the time Mike was working as a teacher and expedition leader and Alex was taking a career break, travelling the world and working as an English teacher and PADI Divemaster. When Alex returned to the UK, Mike had already got things going and they quickly launched a website with volunteering projects in the countries that they had personal connections to from their expeditions and travels.

Since 2001 we have grown organically and now have projects across the world.

Our lives have been shaped by the many different places we have travelled to and the people we have met and worked with around the world. We are passionate about helping others to share these experiences.

Book with confidence - payment protection and insurance

Monies paid to to Pod are fully protected. The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT) provides financial protection under The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 for Personal Overseas Development Ltd t/a Pod Volunteer (Member 5319), and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for:

  • Non-flight packages

ABTOT cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if transportation was included in your package. Please note that bookings made outside the UK are only protected by ABTOT when purchased directly with Personal Overseas Development Ltd t/a Pod Volunteer.

In the unlikely event that you require assistance whilst abroad due to our financial failure, please call our 24/7 helpline on 01702 811397 and advise you are a customer of an ABTOT protected travel company.

You can access The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 here: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/634/contents/made

Pod has public liability insurance cover of £5 million and also chooses to take out specialist crisis management insurance.

Pod Volunteer (Personal Overseas Development Ltd) is registered in England & Wales, Company 4458404. VAT GB850751723

What our volunteers say

We are very proud of the feedback we get from our volunteers. 96% of volunteers rate us as 4-5 stars on independent reviews website reviews.co.uk.

We recommend joining Pod’s community on Facebook where you can contact Pod volunteers past and present:


Where the money goes

We charge a fee to volunteers for all our placements in order to cover the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running Pod in the UK. Fee levels are set to match costs (on a non-profit basis) and any surplus monies are distributed via the Pod Charity.

For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Pod Charity

Since 2001, Pod has been providing volunteers to help charitable projects around the world. The Pod Charity was established in 2010 to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well and so far has raised over £170,000!

Read more about the Pod Charity.