General volunteer activity

Job Title: MapAction Volunteer

Job Purpose: Support the delivery of planned humanitarian projects and emergency deployments to support disaster response

Location: Remote (must be within affordable travel distance of the UK to attend training*)

Salary: Volunteer position

Deadline: The current recruitment window closes on November 14th, 2023.

The Opportunity

Are you ready to use your skill set to make a difference and help save lives? We strongly believe that global humanitarian needs outstrip resources. Expert geospatial and data analysis can help bridge this gap and enable better outcomes. Do you want to be part of a close-knit team and undergo significant training which will enable you to apply your skills and knowledge in complex humanitarian situations? Then this is the organisation for you. 

Volunteers are at the heart of MapAction and we are looking for enthusiastic professionals who have a desire to commit to a great team and to help MapAction make a difference that has a lasting effect on vulnerable communities. 

Since 2002, our cohort of 70+ volunteers has been involved in more than 140 humanitarian responses alongside the UN or regional disaster response agencies. Our volunteers have also helped to deliver more than 2400 training workshops and events to build disaster preparedness worldwide. Being a volunteer with MapAction takes you to the heart of the humanitarian sector and gives you a live role in disaster response and risk reduction; a frontline seat in mitigating climate change. We also have various remote project work opportunities.

There are many different volunteer roles within MapAction and these are listed below along with links to the full details. 

We are currently recruiting for the following roles:

While we ask you to select a primary role which you will be assessed against during the recruitment process, you are not constrained by this role and will be free to engage in a wide variety of activities.  If you feel you are interested in applying to more than one of these profiles, choose the one you have the most experience and training in, since you’ll be tested on these skills as part of the recruitment process. If there are additional roles that appeal, please make this clear in your covering letter.

(*) this role requires you to be available to travel overseas potentially during emergency response.  

(+) Travel opportunities exist for these roles

Come and be part of something that is exciting and impactful!

Why MapAction?

MapAction is a leading humanitarian mapping charity delivering information services and products to enhance decision making in disasters and conflicts. In collaboration with our partners, this mapped information helps responders understand vulnerabilities and target their response effectively, contributing to saving lives and minimising suffering. We work through a team of skilled volunteer professionals and a small paid staff team.

We have built a strong reputation in the humanitarian sector and are a technical partner of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, Non-Government Organisations and Civil Society Organisations, the Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement, regional entities and national authorities. 

The humanitarian sector is evolving, and technical expertise such as GIS, mapping, information management, advanced analytics, data processing and visualisation are becoming increasingly utilised for improving decision making in complex humanitarian response. MapAction and our partners are uniquely positioned to provide technical expertise in support of this.

What does it mean to be part of the MapAction team?

Being part of MapAction means entering a close-knit community of highly skilled and committed professionals in different industries, with years of experience both in academia, the public or private sectors and in the humanitarian world. It means using your unique skills to help prepare for, anticipate, or respond to humanitarian emergencies, enabling our partners to provide life-saving support.

At MapAction, training and team building are at the heart of our organisational culture. We have frequent meet-ups in person and online where paid staff and volunteers get together for training opportunities and skill-sharing, to strengthen our service offer. Training locations move around the UK and weekends typically involve camping.  

As a volunteer, you can participate in all levels and areas of the organisation, working alongside our colleagues at various UN agencies and/or other humanitarian partners. Volunteers also steer the organisation’s strategic direction and are involved with designing and implementing our operational capacity.

As a member of the team, you will be expected to participate in at least 6 weekend training or development events annually. This must include our annual simulation exercise, which all volunteers are required to attend. Other weekend training events include 5 annual training weekends where we get together in person at various locations around the UK, and 4 online development days. Volunteers should live either within the UK or within reasonably easy and affordable reach of the UK in order to be able to attend face to face training events.

We are constantly involved in humanitarian projects as well as responding at short notice to emergencies. You will also be expected to participate in planned project work and/or emergency missions and support. Generally, that takes the form of a couple of weeks of full-time work either remotely or abroad each year. Alternatively there is potential to be involved in remote, regular engagement work of a few hours per month. The balance between overseas and remote opportunities varies slightly between roles, with more information provided in the role specific information. To be a successful volunteer, you should have a very good working relationship with your employer and the ability to take time off for volunteering work. MapAction can help support employer engagement.

Exceptionally, we can accommodate different engagement styles and requirements, depending on the specific situation.

From the MapAction team you can expect:

  • A chance to put your skills to use in the context of a humanitarian crisis
  • Access to our unique network, and the opportunity to exchange with a unique and diverse set of professional geospatial and data peers
  • Opportunities to learn and develop new skills
  • Opportunities to travel: conferences, training events, project work, missions
  • A never-ending supply of snacks during training events (we take our snacking seriously)
  • All MapAction-related expenses covered: travel and mission-related costs, including insurance

What are we looking for?

If you feel you are a good match but do not feel like you meet all the requirements, we are still happy to receive your application! 

The core skills we look for in all of our volunteer members are the following:

  • A desire to use their skills, experience and dedication in the cause of humanitarian ends
  • Good team player with leadership and/or project management experience or ambition wherever possible
  • Exceptional communication skills, to explain your work to people who don’t understand the mechanics behind data analysis, and experience in understanding partner needs and requirements, in particular working with non-technical clients
  • Adaptable, resilient and solution-oriented
  • Self-motivated and organised
  • Time to commit to MapAction, for more details on the time commitment, please refer to the “What does it mean to be part of the MapAction team?” 
  • To be within an affordable distance from the UK to attend up to 6 training sessions a year. (If you live within the Americas, Africa, Asia or Oceina then we are unable to consider your application but we hope to expand this next year)

Additional desirable skills that you may have include:

  • Teaching, training or capacity building experience
  • Good project management skills
  • Humanitarian knowledge/experience
  • Languages (particularly French, Spanish and Arabic)
  • Adventure or professional travel experience or relevant international work experience
  • Monitoring and evaluation experience

In addition to these skills and attributes please see role specific requirements.

How do I apply?

Your application must include: 

a) A covering letter, and;

b) Your CV. This should include: Current work, skills and experience, Other relevant IT/technical skills and experience, Educational details, Where you live, Languages spoken (we are currently seeking French, Spanish and Arabic speakers), Contact details, References.

Selection Process

The selection and onboarding timeline consists of:

  1. Application deadline 14th November 2023
  2. Shortlisted candidates informed by 23rd November
  3. Round 1: Online interviews between 6-12th December
  4. Notification of progression to round 2 by 22nd December
  5. Round 2: Recruitment open day, in person in Milton Keynes on 10th or 11th January 2024. The Interview & Open Day includes:
    1. A practical skills test for your volunteer role.
    2. A group exercise
    3. An introduction to the organisation, and a chance to meet the current team members
    4. A Q&A with current volunteers
  6. Notification of outcome from round 2 by 19th January 
  7. Subject to references successful candidates will be invited to join MapAction shortly afterwards
  8. Induction and the first training weekend to attend will take place from 14-18th March
  9. Probationary period ends at Operational Readiness Course 7-10th November 2024

The full 2024 training schedule will be shared with members when they are invited to join the team.  

Beyond volunteering

In addition to our volunteer team we have a smaller team of more experienced professionals who also undertake additional work on a consultancy basis.  There are opportunities both for stand by cover for emergencies and also for more substantial pieces of project work. Please indicate in your application if you would like to know more about this opportunity. 

Diversity & Inclusion

As an organisation, we recognise the value that diversity brings to our entire operation, deployments and culture. Diversity brings different experiences and perspectives to bear in all aspects of our decision-making. It also enables us to respond most appropriately and effectively to the challenges which our teams face, where they are required to operate in diverse and challenging circumstances.

MapAction is an Equal Opportunities employer. All employees and volunteers have a personal responsibility to promote and support measures designed to create a working environment that is free from harassment or discrimination on the grounds of gender, marital status, family status, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, membership of the Traveller community or HIV & AIDS status.

Any questions then please contact