Volunteering in Munich as an expat


Updated on Nov 06 • 4 minute read

If you're looking for something to do in Munich or to scratch your itch of making the world a better place, then using your time in Munich to take part in some volunteering work is the way to go! Let’s dive into rules, reasons and some of the various types of volunteering opportunities that are available to you, from fighting poverty, helping animals to support the arts.

Why do volunteer work in Munich?

There are many reasons why volunteering is a great thing to do, especially when you’re new in the local community you’re helping. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your community, improve your German and make some friends along the way. There are so many ways to volunteer, that you can really find your way to contribute to the community and the world in the way you feel is best. At the same time, volunteer work is still working. It’s a great contribution to your resume, even if you‘re not getting paid to do it. The challenges and workloads are the same as those of a regular company after all. Additionally, your language skills won’t be as much of a hurdle as you think, as Germans speak English pretty well and there are also positions tailored specifically to English speakers available.

Am I allowed to do volunteer work with a residence permit?

If you’re in Germany on a temporary residence permit, for example, to look for a normal job, you’re not allowed to work. And generally, the rules dictate that if you’re not allowed to work, you’re also not allowed to take part in volunteer work. The only clear exception to this is to have a specific volunteering visa.

Am I allowed to volunteer while in Germany as a student?

If you’re in Germany, it’s legal for you to take up a part-time job. The limit for this is a max of 120 full work days or 240 half days per year. Also, there’s a tax-free threshold for this, but I digress. So, at the same time, if you stick to these limits, you are also allowed to spend this time on volunteer work as well.

How to find volunteer work in Munich

For this type of thing, Google is your friend! So if you‘re already looking, let’s get you started. Here are a number of platforms that will help you find volunteer work in no time!

Types of volunteer work in Munich

Munich has a lot to offer, from its vibrant neighbourhoods to its magnificent city centre. It’s also a wealthy city, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people or animals that could benefit greatly from your help.

Volunteer work in Munich during corona

Now that Corona has taken hold of the world, there’s a whole new branch popping up to help people whose livelihood has become endangered as well as people who run an increased risk of becoming socially isolated during the quarantine measures. Here’s how to help during corona times in Munich! - Munich Volunteers - Nebenan (neighbourhood network) (use ctrl-f / command-f to find München) - Quarantine heroes (you can find Munich on the map (Karte).

Munich volunteer work that provides humanitarian aid

Even in a wealthy city like Munich, someone can lose their job, become disabled or homeless. So here’s a list of charities that help the part of the population that need a little extra boost to provide for themselves and their families until they get back on their feet.

- Cleverackern (CleverFields) - An organisation where local farmers and other food producers can pitch in to help people who need help putting food on the table.

- The Munich Table - A Munich based food bank that helps over 20.000 people! They take volunteers from all walks of life to help with everything in the logistic and food distribution process.

- Revoneer Various humanitary volunteering projects tailored towards Engineers.

Munich volunteer work to help animals

  • Animal Rescue Munich - The name itself says it all! Thisi s one of the most important animal rescue centres in Munich, taking in not only cats and dogs, but also all the local wildlife.
  • Munich Animal Shelter - The Munich animal shelter is full of cats, dogs and other pets that need food, care and affection while they wait for their new owner to bring them to their forever home!
  • Animal Foodbank Munich - A pet is a great comfort, especially when times are dire! So the animal foodbank in Munich helps people feed their pets if they are to hit a rough patch in their lives.

Munich volunteer work to support the arts

  • Peace of Paper - an organisation that helps immigrants and refugees learn the German language through stamp-based art workshops. They also offer ladies only and foreign language-taught courses.
  • Art Cinema (Kino der Kunst) - a festival and art exhibition which presents cinematic works in which artists apply formal innovation and a highly aesthetic visual language without losing sight of the serious issues of our time.
  • The Programming Foundation - While not strictly ‘art’, the Programming foundation aims for the next generation and generations to come to understand, use, and implement computer programming into their knowledge and their lives.

Volunteering as a professional

If taking care of animals or helping out in a soup kitchen isn’t what you‘re looking to do, but still want to help out, then ask yourself: what am I good at? Many of the professional skills you might have in pr, marketing, finance or engineering are skills that are also required by the organisations that make the other volunteering opportunities possible. So, instead of sorting through spare clothing, you can help a charitable organisation with their online marketing presence, help them with their legal or financial issues or help them improve their website or internal systems.

This allows you to do the work where you excel, while you’re also gaining more and more experience in your field. So it’s an excellent way to prevent yourself from sitting still if you’re in between jobs or to get started in your field while you’re still studying. So, give yourself the opportunity to help others, make the world a better place while also honing your own skills. So, find a charity that helps Munich become a better place in the way you prefer and contact them to offer them your skills!

For example:

  • MicroMentor - a website where you can find small businesses and use the knowledge you have to give them the knowledge they need to thrive! This might not take place in Munich, but you can definitely help while you’re quarantined or working from home in Munich!

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