United Nations Volunteers
"Inspiration in action."
The United Nations Volunteers (also well known as the UNV) program is an organization overseen by the United Nations. The UNV aims to promote and incorporate volunteerism in the worldwide community. Their mission statement reads:
"Volunteering brings benefits to both society at large and the individual volunteer. It makes important contributions, economically as well as socially. It contributes to a more cohesive society by building trust and reciprocity among citizens.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilization of volunteers. It serves the causes of peace and development by enhancing opportunities for participation by all peoples. It is universal, inclusive and embraces volunteer action in all its diversity. It values free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity, which are the foundations of volunteerism."
Sure, it's a mouthful, and they probably could have just said, "To promote volunteerism," but this looks much fancier. After all, why would an organization like the UN make anything simple on the rest of us? That's just not professional.
Of course, I'm just messin' with the UNV. They directly mobilize more than 7,500 volunteers each year across the globe, with more than 75% coming from developing countries; over 30% volunteer in their own country. What does this mean for you, then, if you can't offer in-person volunteer services (and to be honest, who can)? For that, there is the Online Volunteering service.
This service directly connects organizers with people who are willing to donate some of their time and skills to the particular organization's project. While you don't get to travel (and you don't get the benefits of being a UNV volunteer), you do get to help out in your own way, however you can.
If you want to join the UNV yourself, or just give them a look, check out the UNV site. If you'd like to sign up online, and be an online volunteer, go to UNV Online Volunteering.