What is the purpose of the Volunteer Swap?

To give volunteers the opportunity to meet other volunteers and learn about other St John organisations and countries of the JOIN family. Depending on the project, volunteers can either work in the area of their regular volunteering work at home or experience new working fields.

What does Volunteer Swap mean?

Volunteer Swap means giving volunteers of one JOIN member country the possibility to take part in projects of other member countries. The JOIN member countries can “swap” their volunteers and therefore support intercultural exchange and cooperation.

What is JOIN and how is it linked to the Volunteer Swap?

The Volunteer Swap goes back to a first Volunteer Swap in 2011 that was JOIN’s contribution to the European Year of Volunteering. JOIN means Johanniter International and is a partnership of 16 national charity organisations in Europe and the Middle East, which were originally founded by the Orders of St John. Their shared approach to humanitarian welfare and social aid is based on the member organisations’ Christian heritage. Furthermore its purpose is to advocate the interest of St John charities within the institutions of the European Union and facilitate Europe-wide cooperation as well as international projects.

How much does the participation in a Volunteer swap cost?

There is no participation fee. However depending on the project the volunteer might have to finance some of the travel cost or costs for board and lodging. Check the project descriptions for further details.

How can I participate in a Swap?

Go on the Volunteer swap website and inform yourself about the current Swap projects here by clicking on the member countries and see which projects are offered. You decided on a project you want to take part in? Great! Now you can contact your national exchange officer and discuss with him the details.

How can a St John/Johanniter organisation benefit from a Volunteer Swap?

There are several benefits for the receiving and sending organisations. The receiving organisation supports an intercultural exchange for their own volunteers and gives them the possibility to work and learn from other volunteers. Furthermore it is a great way to build an international exchange network that any St John organisation can benefit from. And finally, the hosting organisation receives highly motivated volunteers. Sending organisations also benefit from a Volunteer Swap. It offers a new and exciting experience to their own volunteers that might further motivate them; it also adds to the attractiveness of volunteering for the home organisation. Furthermore it is a possibility to the national St John/Johanniter organisation to be part of a wider and even global St John community, which increases the identification with it.

How long does a Volunteer Swap project take place?

The timeframe for a project depends on the project and can vary between a one-day event and a swap up to a few weeks. Check the project description for the details and make sure your calendar schedule is free when you take part in a Volunteer Swap.

Which qualifications do I need to participate?

The required qualifications depend on the project you are taking part in. For example, if you are applying as a volunteer in a soup kitchen a warm, helpful and sunny attitude can be more than enough to be a great help. However if you apply for a position as first aider basic medical knowledge can be a requirement. You can obtain more information on the necessary requirements by consulting the project description on the Volunteer Swap website or contacting your national exchange officer of the project. No project that suits your skills? There are projects with different requirements coming in on a regular basis, so make sure you check for new projects.

I am not a member of a St John/Johanniter organisation, can I still take part in a Volunteer Swap?

In order to be able to take part in a JOIN swap, you need to be affiliated to a JOIN member. If you are interested, why not contact your national exchange officer right now to ask for details?

Will board and lodging be provided in the Swap Country?

The partner projects always try to keep the costs for the volunteers as low as possible. That also includes board and lodging. However it cannot be ensured for every project, so please check the project description or speak with the exchange officers.