About us


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

Pod Volunteer was founded in 2001 to give volunteers the opportunity to use their energy, enthusiasm and skills where it counts. 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 are driven by the needs of the projects we support. 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 a carefully balanced set of projects and visit all our projects 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 and Accreditation page for how we have been recognised and accredited.

Our mission

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 travel experience in some incredible parts of the world

Our mission is to:

1. Help overseas communities

  • Relieve poverty and improve education, health and living conditions for socially and economically disadvantaged communities
  • Improve care for animals in need
  • Protect the environment through research and conservation projects

By providing: volunteers, funding, skills transfer and advice.

2. Give our volunteers

  • The opportunity to directly help overseas communities in need, through volunteering, in a responsible way
  • A meaningful, safe and enjoyable volunteering experience - which we hope will also encourage global citizenship

By: providing a carefully structured and well managed volunteering programmes where there is a genuine need for assistance; being as accessible as possible and free from discrimination.

Our Impact and Awards

In 2019 an amazing 7,154 days and 50,078 hours of volunteering was completed by our volunteers!

See our Awards and Accreditation page for how we have been recognised and accredited as a leading volunteer organisation.

How it all began

Pod Volunteer was set up in 2001 to provide a link between small charities overseas in need of additional resource and people wishing to volunteer their time to do something worthwhile abroad.

Directors Alex and Mike started out wanting to create a worldwide link to small charities, NGO’S and communities in less developed countries. Having both worked in travel previously, Mike as a guide and Alex as a teacher and dive master, they travelled to destinations they felt would benefit. It was in Tanzania whilst helping to set up a small volunteer project that they realised it would really benefit from having volunteers all year round, thus sowing the seed for the future of Pod Volunteer.

We have gradually grown since 2001 and now have projects across the world. Generally charities on the ground do not have the resources to market themselves and find it difficult to attract and prepare volunteers. We work to free them from their administration so they can continue working on worthy projects.

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.

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 £160,000!

Read more about the Pod Charity.

Book with confidence - payment protection and insurance


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, and in the event of their insolvency, protection is provided for the following:

1. Non-flight packages and

2. Flight inclusive packages that commence outside of the UK, which are sold to customers outside of the UK.

ABTOT cover provides for a refund in the event you have not yet travelled or repatriation if transport 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 850751723


  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal