04/12/2013 08:00 GMT | Updated 02/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Be Inspired: International Volunteer Day 2013

International Volunteer Day (#IVD2013) takes place each year on the 5th December. It is a chance for both volunteers and individuals to promote their contributions to development, as well as raise awareness for volunteering and encourage others to get involved.


Established by the United Nations (UN) in 1985, the day is a celebration of volunteering on a global scale. The focus for IVD 2013 is to highlight the contribution of youth volunteers working towards global peace and sustainable development. It is the recognition that young people can act as agents of change within communities.

"Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and geographic boundaries. By giving their time and skills without expectation of material reward, volunteers themselves are uplifted by a singular sense of purpose."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Message for the International Volunteer Day 5 December 2012

For young people especially, volunteering is a chance to gain life experience and the feeling of making a difference in this world. Volunteers past, future and present belong to a community that transcends cultural and age boundaries to be untied by a common goal.

Volunteers work extremely hard, often paying for the privilege to do so, but without this small donation non-profit NGOs such as Frontier would not be able to have bases in all corners of the world. Without volunteers donating their time and skills, as well as financially, they would not be able to continue to carry out research or provide an education to children who may not necessarily of had the opportunity to go to school before. All the changes which occur on a day-to-day basis by the different volunteering organizations are slowly, but surely, making huge- valued changes.

For Frontier our volunteers form part of an international community striving to protect endangered wildlife and create sustainable human development, as well as empower local communities and encourage young people to become active global citizens. To celebrate IVD 2013 we've asked our volunteers to share their favourite photo from their time spent volunteering using #frontiervolunteer. Frontier sends over 1,000 volunteers away each year. In 2013 this has amounted to a staggering 41,578 days' worth of volunteering! On the 5th December we'll compile all these photographs into a single album celebrating the good work being done by volunteers across the world on the Frontier Official Facebook page.

How you can volunteer and make a difference:

At home: Why not take action within your own community and look for volunteering opportunities in your local area. There are often many chances available to support youth groups or help out at a local farm or museum. Whatever you're interested in - volunteering can be an excellent way of exploring and sharing a passion.

Abroad:Volunteering abroad can be a real chance to help where it is needed most. It can also be a way to learn more about the world through travel and experience of other cultures. Sharing with each other and being united by project causes also helps us to overcome together issues faced by the global community.

Find out more about volunteering opportunities abroad.

Authors Ed Hawes and Maria Sowter work for Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO with over 300 dedicated conservation, development and adventure projects worldwide. See more from projects and volunteer on Frontier's blog and the Frontier Official Facebook page.