Voluntary service is one of the main principles of our operations and allows us to react to needs and emergencies in a swift and organized manner. The Icelandic Red Cross and the entire Red Cross Movement is based on voluntary helping. The Icelandic Red Cross is a part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world’s largest humanitarian network that brings together almost 14 million volunteers. In Iceland there are around 2300 volunteer in every corner of the country. The activities are diverse and most 

Frequently asked questions

When volunteers are asked why they volunteer, the answer is usually the desire to be there for those in need and to give back to the community. But many also mention that in volunteer work they gain new knowledge and skills, get the opportunity to use their expertise and/or experience, meet new people, and strengthen their network. It has been shown that voluntary work contributes to the health and well-being of those who work, increases self-confidence and can increase employability, especially of young people.

We emphasize the participation of diverse groups of people in our work and we train and educate our volunteers so that they have the necessary tools to tackle their projects.

Most people who live in Iceland should be able to volunteer and find projects that suit their interests and abilities. In general, volunteers need to have reached 18 years of age, but some projects require a higher age and/or certain skills or knowledge. Volunteers are always required to be prepared to work in accordance with the policy, ethics and fundamental ideals of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross projects vary greatly and are based on the needs of society and the policy of the Red Cross at any given time. Volunteer projects are also diverse, and we make sure that volunteers receive suitable projects and the necessary training and education to do their work effectively and safely.

The amount of time volunteers are asked to contribute and the length of time they have to commit to is different between projects.

In some projects, volunteers spend one hour a week, and in other projects maybe 3 hours twice a month. Sometimes volunteers are asked to commit to 6 or 12 months, and in other cases a much shorter commitment is requested.

After major disasters people often want to volunteer in the affected area. But this isn't the best way of getting help where it's needed.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is made up of 190 National Societies. The Icelandic is one of these. Each National Society can draw upon its own body of volunteers, so we don’t send volunteers overseas.

Our approach saves vital time and money, as local volunteers have the advantage of speaking the language, knowing the region and understanding the culture.

Every year we do welcome young volunteers (aged 18 - 30) from other European countries through the European Solidarity Corps. These volunteers support long-term projects. They do not help in the aftermath of a disaster.

If you would like to volunteer overseas you might like to visit AUS a NGO that do send young volunteers abroad.

Organized voluntary work can be part of studies at the youth, secondary and  university levels. The Icelandic Red Cross regularly accepts students for voluntary work in connection with their studies. All inquiries regarding voluntary work in connection with studies, Erasmus projects and internships can be sent to central@redcross.is.

Apply for a volunteer opportunity

Our volunteers make it possible to respond to crisis and needs in a swift and organized manner.

Apply here