Why volunteering in Denmark can help you professionally

Volunteering in Denmark can be an enriching experience, offering opportunities to learn new skills, meet people, and contribute to a bigger cause.

Career Denmark guides you to finding, choosing, and engaging in voluntary work in Denmark.

Importance of Volunteering in Denmark

For the Danes, volunteering is of cultural Importance through trust and community spirit. According to a 2018 study from Aalborg University, one in three Danes volunteer.

When you start to look into voluntary positions, you notice rather quickly that the process and positions are very often treated with as much importance, if not more, than a regular job.

Very often, both large and small organizations, are looking for volunteers from social work to cultural events and non-profits to start-ups.

volunteering in Denmark - Why volunteering in Denmark can help you professionally - Career Denmark

Why volunteering in Denmark is valuable

There are a plethora of reasons why one might volunteer. However, sometimes it takes someone or something (this article) to clarify all the reasons. Make sure you relate to at least one, ideally several of the below to confirm your lasting commitment;

Working experience: You can gain voluntary experience for your resume. Valuable for career starters or switchers

Growth: Learning new skills

Students: Gain practical experience and skills relevant to your studies

Social Networking: Meet new people (colleagues and/or customers) to build your network.

Drive: Be driven by a common and larger purpose.

Change: Be part of driving social change.

Cultural: A deeper understanding of different cultures and personal situations, promoting tolerance.

Personal: If you have been directly or indirectly affected by a cause you may want to support others going through similar experiences. Your connection can drive a strong desire to help and prevent others from suffering.

Care: Satisfy your desire to care.

Justice: Drive and promote social justice.

Research: For those interested in research, volunteering with an organization could provide opportunities to collect data.

Langauge: Learning Danish while volunteering can help you with having more real life experience writing and speaking the language than just learning from a text book

Deciding on your commitment level

Before you go out and search for interesting positions, it’s good practice to ask yourself the following questions:

– How much time am I willing to commit?

– What area(s) do I intrinsically care about?

– What skills could I add value with?

– Where should the organization be located?

– What kind of work environment is important to me?

By asking yourself these questions, you may come to the realization you have 6 hours a week to assist the elderly with their groceries within Copenhagen because you enjoy the social side and combat isolation.

In this example, a vacancy for the foodbank to work by yourself in their warehouse located in Hillerød for 14 hours a week is the exact opposite of what you want, regardless of the impact you could have.

So, it becomes a lot easier to find a handful of vacancies that fit your desires and create a true win-win when you are volunteering in Denmark.

volunteering in Denmark - Why volunteering in Denmark can help you professionally - Career Denmark

Finding Voluntary Work in Denmark

Assuming you have been able to identify what matters to you pre-search, you can get searching.

Online positions

Danes are used to applying through voluntary hubs such as frivilligjob.dk and volunteering.dk. These websites offer positions searchable by location, type of work, and time commitment.

So simply input your wishes and find the current open positions. Do note, that your level of Danish might impact your eligibility. As a rule, if a vacancy is in Danish, odds are, the Danish language is required for the job.

If you prefer personalized advice & instant updates on possible vacancies, it can be valuable to join Facebook groups & LinkedIn networks and forums relevant for volunteering in Denmark. Or reach out to Career Denmark for a more thorough process.

Offline locations

Very often, your local municipality, library, and/or community center will have information about open volunteer positions. When you visit these locations, don’t shy away to ask someone about volunteering.

As with getting a paid job, networking remains very useful. If you are clear on the type of work you would like to do, but can’t find the exact position, go and attend events or join a society that can bring you closer to people who can see your value.

Going through the process

Although the process of getting a voluntary job is similar to a paid one, there are several attention points:

– Be as honest and transparent as possible as to why you care about the cause. After all these positions are reliant on your burning desire to contribute.

– Do not be afraid to ask for what you need. Although a volunteer position is about adding value for the organizations, there often is facilitation required. Think about possible training and/or travel compensation if needed.

Doing Volunteering in Denmark

Once you have started, be self-reflective over time in regards to:

– Is the work fulfilling my purpose & self-development?

– Is the work enjoyable and do I contribute to others’ enjoyment?

– Do I miss anything I might wish to discuss?

These questions will help you to stay committed to the cause, facilitate continuous learning, keep you in touch with the community & help you strengthen your resume.

Extra: Legal Considerations

If you are not a Danish or EU citizen, check if your visa allows you to volunteer. Some types of visas may have restrictions.

Insurance: Ensure you’re covered by insurance for any work you’ll be doing, especially if it’s physical or involves travel.

Picture of Kate Dahl

Kate Dahl

Career Consultant for Internationals in Denmark. Founder of Career Denmark since 2018. Expat living in Denmark