What is the purpose of the Volunteer Swap?

The Volunteer Swap is an exchange programme across Europe between JOIN members giving volunteers the opportunity to meet other volunteers, learn about other St John organisations and take part in new working fields. The Volunteer Swap emphasises the value of volunteering for society. It also promotes the idea of JOIN by bringing together volunteers of the JOIN family and encouraging them to work together on our shared mission.

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

The Volunteer Swap first started off as JOIN’s contribution to the European Year of Volunteering in 2011. JOIN is the partnership of the four protestant Orders of St John and their national charities. Our member organisations, based in Europe and the Middle East, work in close cooperation and are supported by more than 100,000 volunteers. They serve humanity with medical services and first aid, social care, international aid, disaster relief and youth work. The services of our member organisations are open to everyone. JOIN’s central office in Brussels advocates the interest of the St John charities to European and international bodies and facilitates international projects and working groups.

How can I participate in a Swap?

Go on the Volunteer Swap website and look up the current Swap projects here by clicking on the member countries and see which projects are offered. If you want more information about the project, use the contact forms for the country.

You have decided on a project you want to take part in? Great!
Now you can
contact the JOIN Office and discuss further details.

You are not sure which projects to choose or if it fits your skills? The JOIN Office or your national exchange officer will be happy to help you find a matching project.

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 to take care of elderly people, a warm and helpful attitude would be most valuable. If you apply for a project related to ambulance and medical cover, a qualification in first aid will be required. You will obtain more information on the requirements by reading the project description on the Volunteer Swap website or contacting the JOIN Office.

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 ones.

How long does a Volunteer Swap project take place?

The timeframe for a project 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.

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. It is also 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.

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 the St John/Johanniter organisation of your own country and become a member?

I have a project that could be interesting for the Volunteer Swap, whom can I contact?

That is great! Please contact the JOIN Office here.

Is there any financial assistance to participate in a Swap?

The JOIN Office funds 50% of the travel costs of each participant, to a maximum of 250 Euros per participant. The reimbursement takes place after the exchange upon proof of travel costs. Sending organisations are free to offer additional support beyond JOIN funding.

Will board and lodging be provided in the Swap Country?

We always try to keep the costs for the ‘swappers’ as low as possible. In the vast majority of cases, accommodation is provided free of charge. Lunches are also often offered. However, it cannot be guaranteed for every project, so please check the Swap description or contact the JOIN Office first.

What is it expected from a participant to a Swap?

We ask you to send the JOIN Office a description of your Swap including a short written report, some pictures and/or video to be published on our communication channels.