Our Mission 

 The International Voluntary Service is on a mission to
promote peace, justice and understanding through volunteering. 


We’re a membership organisation. Our members vote on our prices, which haven’t increased since 1984.


Our projects are developed by our global network of partners and must have an identified local need.


We’re recognised by the UN as the UK’s oldest International Volunteering Organisation.

About IVS

The International Voluntary Service is a peace organisation working for the sustainable development of local and global communities throughout the world. We are a leading charity which has existed since 1931, involving volunteers in international exchanges at home and abroad (international voluntary projects). IVS is the UK member of Service Civil International (SCI), a worldwide network of like-minded branches and partner organisations supporting the mutual exchange of volunteers to work on projects of direct benefit to local communities.

Our Values

We believe volunteering fosters locally led action for social change, and in turn supports behavioural change, by challenging negative social attitudes.

We respect and value all those that we work with, we listen to others and value diversity. We show consideration for others and recognise each other’s differences and rights. We celebrate differences in nationality, ethnicity, gender and background.

We act with integrity at all times and take responsibility for using our resources efficiently. We never compromise our reputation and are transparent and accountable to volunteers, members, partners and all key stakeholders. The safety, security and physical and emotional health of our volunteers is a key priority.

We strive for excellence, impact and set high goals in all that we do. We ensure that our work leaves lasting sustainable change.

We communicate effectively and openly and work collaboratively with people and organisations.

We are open to new ideas, embrace change, and take disciplined risks to develop sustainable solutions for peace and justice.

Our Strategy

We want to ensure that we deliver quality and meaningful activities and can demonstrate the impact of our work to our key stakeholders. IVS will continue to build on our experience, our knowledge and expertise to build a portfolio of projects that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2015, governments around the world signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Specifically, Goal 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part and to reflect this, the SDGs will form our work until 2020 and beyond.

Our Primary Objectives

  • We will strengthen civil society at home & abroad

    We will do this by:

    •Creating and developing volunteer opportunities which promote personal development and social service

    •Providing mutual support through the exchange of volunteers across partner organisations

    •Striving to ensure that opportunities are accessible to all members of society of new partners both at home and abroad

    •Aiming to break down perceived barriers to volunteering by offering a range of opportunities for both skilled and unskilled volunteers that ensure lasting long-term benefit to local communities

    •Strengthening relationships with existing partners and developing a network of new partners both at home and abroad

    •Enhancing the capacity of our local and international partners working in cooperation with local communities

    •Identifying projects with clearly defined needs and outcomes and increasing the measurable, positive impact of their work by ensuring long-term sustainability

  • We will foster peace & understanding

    We will do this by:

    • Promoting global citizenship through volunteering and recognising its powerful contribution to the delivery of the SDGs

    •Educating and promoting a better understanding of the benefits of cross-cultural exchange

    •Building bridges and dispelling myths

    •Enabling opportunities for peace education, and understanding of non-violence and social justice

    •Building meaningful partnerships and relationships that promote cross-cultural exchange

    •Campaigning for a deeper understanding of how the SDGs affect UK citizens, especially Goal 16

  • We will manage our charity as effectively & efficiently as possible

    We will do this by:

    •Developing and implementing operational processes that enable the International Voluntary Service staff, volunteers, trustees and members to carry out their roles effectively and efficiently

    •Implementing robust monitoring and evaluation procedures to enable us to continually learn and improve the quality and impact of the work of both IVS and our partners at home and abroad

    •Developing and implementing a diverse income generation strategy aimed at a portfolio of supporters who share our vision and that enables us to deliver our strategic priorities and ensures sustainability beyond 2020

    •Ensuring that the International Voluntary Service continues to explore new ways of generating income that reflect the changing funding infrastructure in the UK

    •Engaging our members, staff, trustees and volunteers in raising the profile of the International Voluntary Service through a programme of fundraising, marketing and awareness building activities

    •Raising public awareness and understanding of the work of the International Voluntary Service

    •Researching and collating the history of IVS to affirm our strengths and inform our future direction