Volunteering & Donations

Donations & Volunteering

Last updated: 13.02.2024

University of Galway’s retired staff often use their skills and life-time experiences to help others. Some also choose to make donations to particular causes, for example to local and national charities, or the University's work, through the Galway University Foundation. Many have been active before retirement as fundraisers or supporting student volunteering in University of Galway. The University plays a supportive role in the city and region, engaging with NGOs, industry, small businesses, schools, and individuals.

The voluntary support of university staff when they retire can make a real difference in the region and further afield.

Donations and bequests

Charitable organisations in the Galway region

For details of charitable organisations active in the West of Ireland, whether national or regional, see the list of 66 charities on the RIP website.

In the Golden Pages you will find 53 charities and caring groups in Co. Galway.

Organisations seeking financial support or volunteers include the following:

Logos of local and national charities

Tax relief on donations to charitable organizations

As of February 2022, the Revenue Commission’s website lists 22,827 bodies to which Charitable Tax Exemption status is granted, and provides information about tax-relief on Charitable Donations.

For an overview of tax-efficient giving see Dominic Coyle’s article in the Irish Times (June 2017).

Charities assisted by University of Galway

You can authorise a deduction at source from your pension (as formerly from your salary) in favour of one or more of the charities/foundations supported by the University. The authorization form and further information can be found on the Payroll Office's voluntary deductions page, under ‘Charities/Foundations’.

The beneficiaries are:

The Library: donations of books and archives

The Library welcomes donations and bequests of books and archives, although restrictions on space and resources do not allow it to accept every offer. There are different policies for books and archival material. For information see the Library’s Donations Policy.


row of images of volunteers

Nearly 1 billion people throughout the world volunteer time to support their community, their neighbours or more generally to give their time freely for the common good.

Studies have shown that volunteering benefits volunteers of all ages – see, for instance, Volunteer Ireland’s 2017 survey of volunteers in Ireland ‘The impact of volunteering on the health and well-being of the volunteer’.

·       volunteering in Ireland

Over 1 million people in Ireland volunteer each year (according to CSO 2013 QNHS). Volunteerism increased during the pandemic. An Ipsos MRBI survey in late 2020 found that three-quarters of the population had volunteered their time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Recognizing the value of volunteerism, in December 2020 the Government launched its National Volunteering Strategy 2021-2025.

Short-and long-term needs for volunteers are listed by Volunteer Ireland, the National Volunteer Development Agency and a support body for Volunteer Centres (VCs) and Volunteering Information Services in Ireland. It works with over 30 local VCs in Ireland, including those in Galway, Sligo, Roscommon, Ballina, Castlebar, Ennis and Limerick. During the pandemic many VCs operated virtually.

Volunteering can take different forms that suit your interests and availability. You can volunteer without leaving home through ‘vitual volunteering’ or even through ‘phyical volunteering’, by producing needed items. You can be involved in ‘micro-volunteering’, offering once-off or short-term support. Activities that regularly feature are gardening/conservation; event stewardship; IT support; graphic design; shop, office, art gallery or library assistance; sports supervision; accountancy; quilting; rescuing seals; acting as a safety officer or as an official photographer; bus driving; mentoring; befriending… 

I-Vol is where you can find the opportunities that suit you best. You can search on a county-by-county basis, or according to your preferred causes or activities, or time available, etc. In February 2022, within 50km of Galway there were 78 opportunities, ranging from few hours’ work to longer-term commitments.

·       volunteering abroad

Comhlámh, the Irish Association of Development Workers and Volunteers, lists many approved international volunteering organizations: see their Volops directory. See also their Code of Good Practice for volunteer sending agencies for links to resources.

Many international volunteering programmes have an age limit but others encourage older volunteers.

The EU, for example, has a programme of humanitarian aid which accepts retired people as volunteers. See the EU Aid Volunteers site for information and links. Vacancies, when published, remain on the site for at least a month. ‘Candidates can be newcomers willing to gain experience in the humanitarian sector; experts in any field connected to humanitarian aid; or retired citizens who want to help out with their acquired knowledge.’ (ECHO factsheet, EU Aid Volunteers). 

Another organisation which specifically offers International Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors is Projects Abroad, a US organization with European contacts.

Similarly GoEco, which mainly undertakes ecological projects, encourages older volunteers. See their page on Senior Volunteering.

NGOabroad engages volunteers ‘of all ages – from Gap Year to retirees/ Boomers’ and makes particular provision for volunteers in their 50s, 60s or 70s.

Women on the road notes that ‘As long as you’re healthy – and yes, that does seem to be a requirement in most though not all cases – even volunteering at 60, 70 or beyond is becoming easier every day.’ It provides advice to older volunteers, including guidance on ethical issues, and lists a number of senior-friendly organizations. Among these it includes Volunteer Abroad, Global Service Corps, Road Scholar, Transitions Abroad. Some, such as Elderhostel/Road Scholar or Transitions Abroad, are geared to ‘voluntourism’ where the objective is a working holiday.

See too the Volunteer Forever website.

EIL intercultural learning, an Irish not-for-profit organisation supporting local projects in Ireland and abroad, although mainly involved with students and youth groups, accepts retired volunteers.