We’re thrilled to announce the following Volunteers who are coming on our upcoming campaign targeting pirate fishing fleets.

Alicia Sneyder – Camp Mum (USA)

Anna Wloch – Photographer (Poland)

Campbell Parlour – Engineer (New Zealand)

Megan Stewart – Administration (Australia)

Michael Carey – Video Assist (USA)

Rob Barrett – Security (UK)

Rob McCafferty – Electronics (UK)

Steve Fisher – Jumpmaster (USA)

Thanks to all you who volunteered, and we’re sorry we couldn’t take more of you.  For those of you who missed out, or for anyone else considering volunteering for organizations in the future, here are some thoughts.

Volunteering is a joint partnership.  The NGO benefits from having free labor for a period, but there is also a cost in terms of logistics, accommodation etc.  Each volunteer costs the NGO, but in most cases it is well worth the investment.

The Volunteer benefits from being involved with an amazing group of people and in a mission with a cause.  They get to contribute to something that is bigger than just themselves.  They also hopefully walk away with new skills and attitudes that makes them better people.  The cost is they have given the NGO some of their time.

Volunteering can be an amazing experience for both the Volunteers, and for the organization hosting them.  Sadly we can’t take everyone who applies, but below are some thoughts on what makes good volunteers, and what we look for in selecting them.

The first thing I consider is skill set.  There is no shortage of people wanting to volunteer for missions, but many don’t have any skills to offer.  The Volunteers  we are taking on the next campaign all have a decent skill that is useful to us.  In essence, you need to be really good at something – be it photography, maritime, carpentry, engineering, video, logistics, security, administration, fundraising….  the list goes on and on.  But the key is you must be really GOOD at something.

The second aspect is attitude.  This covers several areas – firstly your work ethic.  Each person should have a healthy attitude to work.  They should be able to make stuff happen within their area of expertise, and be able to work with a minimum of supervision.  They should also be willing to do shit jobs outside their area of expertise. Thirdly they should be able to work in a team environment.  In our campaign coming up for example, it is a team of 25 people living in close proximity to each other, and all working in difficult and trying conditions.  This becomes a cauldron, exposing character traits, both positive and negative.  The best people are positive with a healthy outlook and a strong sense of team unity.  Angry loners in contrast struggle in such environments.

The final consideration is financial.  In our upcoming Pirate Fishing campaign, Volunteers pay their own airfares (around $1500) and food ($15 / day), while we pay for accommodation and other expenses.  So the Volunteers must have access to some funds at least.

I guess not all all NGOs follow these rules.  But certainly it applies to Earthrace Conservation and a few other NGOs that I am familiar with.  So get some skills, save some money, and get involved in something extraordinary!

Kia Kaha, Kia Toa.  Pete Bethune