Frequently Asked Questions

Q Why volunteer with The Orangutan Project?
A There are so many reasons why TOP is a great place to volunteer, from the changes we make to the friendships we keep!

  • Be part of a movement working with local communities to save rainforests, orangutans and other wildlife from extinction
  • Use your skills and talents to be the voice for the voiceless
  • Meet like-minded people within your community and have fun
  • Gain skills and experiences to add to your resume 
  • Contribute your time to a worthwhile cause that is actively saving Critically Endangered species from extinction

“I've always believed that it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness. What's more, giving your precious time and energy to something you care deeply about brings its own rewards. I've enjoyed being part of a team, and I'm proud of what we've achieved. We've had plenty of laughs along the way! Camaraderie, humour and our shared sense of purpose keep us going.”

Diana, volunteer, Canberra Team

Q Where can I volunteer in Australia?
A We have many teams around Australia that you can join - see the list below. Alternatively, you could become a Regional Representative (team leader) and start up your own team if there isn’t already one in your area. We have regional fundraising teams all over Australia including:

  • Adelaide
  • Bendigo
  • Brisbane and the Gold Coast
  • Canberra
  • Darwin
  • Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula
  • Hobart
  • Launceston
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Sutherland (Sydney)
  • Wollongong

Q What volunteer roles do you have right now?
A There are so many different ways you can volunteer with The Orangutan Project. We welcome your ideas - there’s always room for more fundraising in every region! All you need is time, commitment and enthusiasm for making a difference. Some of the main roles you can apply for:

  • Regional Representative (lead a team of volunteers to raise funds at markets, festivals and special events)
  • Assistant Representative (support the Regional Representative and manage specific parts of the team’s activities)
  • Fundraising and Events Volunteer (promote TOP and raise funds at your team’s fundraising events)
  • Event Coordinator (manage events either as part of a team or on your own)
  • Presentations (organise and deliver presentations at schools, businesses and seniors groups)
  • Online Fundraising (organise online fundraising such as online sales)

Q What can I do as a volunteer?
A As a volunteer, there are lots of things you can do to make a difference and your Regional Representative will help you find an activity that suits you. You can help in many ways including:

  • Promote adoptions and sell merchandise at markets and festivals
  • Distribute and manage donation boxes at your local shops
  • Sell fundraising chocolates at your school or business
  • Coordinate an event, like a trivia night, movie night or wine tasting
  • Organise a corporate fundraiser at your place of work

Q How often do I need to volunteer?
A We ask that you volunteer for four to six hours per month, but this will vary depending on your role. Usually, we expect that volunteers will be involved in at least one fundraising activity each month (such as a four-hour shift at a market, helping out with a major fundraising event, or running a fundraiser at your workplace). Regional Representatives (team leaders) generally work ten to fifteen hours per month. We also ask volunteers to commit to volunteering with us for at least six months.

Q How do volunteers stay up to date with news and information?
A You’ll receive our monthly TOP Volunteer Newsletter to keep you up-to-date with events, news and stories. Your Regional Representative will also be in touch with you regularly via email or SMS. We’ll add you to our private Volunteer Facebook Group so you can share news with other volunteers. We also encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn - we post on these platforms every day.

Q I have other skills which I think might be useful; how can I use them?
A We want to get to know you and your talents! We love seeing the creative and unique ways different volunteers make their mark. Please let your Regional Representative know of any skills or ideas you have so you can work together to raise funds to save our orange cousins.

“From a young age, I instantly connected with animals and knew that I wanted to work towards a better future for them and us. Throughout my teens I regularly attended TOP meetings and volunteered at events within Adelaide. Most recently, I have transitioned from volunteer to Regional Representative. My passion for The Orangutan Project and Indonesia’s ecosystems and my desire for change continue to grow daily.”

Lana, Adelaide Regional Representative

Q I want to start my own fundraising team; how do I become a Regional Representative?
A If you’d like to become a Regional Representative, please select ‘Applying to be a Regional Representative’ in the application form. The recruitment team will be in contact with you to arrange an interview, discuss your skills and experience, and let you know if we have a Regional Representative role in your region.

Q What does a Regional Representative do?
A Regional Representatives recruit and manage a team of volunteers to undertake fundraising activities in your local area. As the team leader, you’re responsible for managing, organising and supporting your volunteers. Your main role is to organise stalls at markets and festivals and to manage fundraising events such as trivia nights or movie nights. You’ll also be responsible for ordering and managing merchandise, managing your budgets, and banking funds on time. 

Q What skills do I need to be a Regional Representative?
A Regional Representatives need to have experience in managing teams and managing projects. We’re able to provide training in all other aspects of the role, including event coordination and fundraising. If you have minimal team leadership experience, you can take on the role of an Assistant Representative or an Event Coordinator. 

“I live in a small town and thanks to my wonderful family and friends, I am able to fundraise at stalls and festivals whenever possible. It blows me away how some events can become so successful, as my Quiz Night has become an annual event for the local community, with people arriving in the most outrageous costumes. It’s such a fun night and through this, people learn more about and care for the orangutan cause.”

Fiona Connolly, Hobart Regional Representative

Q Tell me more about the roles of Assistant Representative or Event Coordinator

If you don’t think being a Regional Representative is for you, you could apply to be an Assistant Representative or Event Coordinator might. After we receive your application, we’ll do a short phone interview with you - please let us know in the interview if you’d like to take on one of these roles.

As an Event Coordinator, you will need to have experience and/or training in event management. You will plan, manage and coordinate events, being guided and supported by the Volunteers Fundraising Manager in TOP’s event protocols and processes. 

You can also apply to be an Assistant Representative, working directly with a Regional Representative, being guided and managed by them. Assistant Representatives learn from the Regional Representative, develop team leadership and communication skills, and take on areas of responsibility such as coordinating market stalls or managing merchandise. 

Q I have always wanted to work with animals; will volunteering with TOP help me?
A Volunteering is not just a fantastic way of making positive change and meeting new people, but it’s also a great way to boost your resume! You will gain valuable skills and experience that employers are looking for. Although our volunteering roles in Australia do not involve working directly with animals, volunteering and fundraising with TOP will help you in your career goals. 

Q Is there a fee to register?
A There is a $10 fee which covers the cost of your TOP t-shirt, which you’ll need to wear at all markets and events. When you fill out an application form, you’ll pay the fee at the end of the process via our website.

Q Do you provide training?
A We provide all sorts of training. When you first start, you’ll receive training in topics such as Work Health and Safety and how to talk to the public about our work saving orangutans from extinction. If you are a Regional Representative, you’ll receive training in how to manage a budget, how to run an event, and how to conduct presentations at schools or businesses.

Q How can I help in Borneo and Sumatra?
A Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, volunteering in Indonesia has been put on hold. When it’s safe to volunteer in Borneo and Sumatra again, please visit this page