Volunteer and Intern Policy

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The RAI welcomes volunteers and interns, and values the contribution they make to our work. To offer to be a volunteer or intern, or just to find out more, contact the Office Manager on info@therai.org.uk or write to the Royal Anthropological Institute, 50 Fitzroy St, London W1T 5BT, UK.

Volunteers and interns at the RAI are individuals who commit themselves to undertaking a variety of tasks without a contract of employment or financial reward.

Volunteers are individuals providing unpaid assistance, either for a single event or on a more regular short or long term basis.

Interns are individuals with a particular interest, such as students doing a degree in anthropology or a related subject, who are attached to the RAI full-time for a period normally up to six months. Interns often (but not always) join the RAI as part of an ongoing placement programme. They are distinguished from other volunteers by their primary aim of obtaining work experience in their field of interest.

The minimum age for volunteers and interns is normally 18 with no upper age limit.

Purpose of volunteering and internships

The RAI recognises that volunteers and interns can make an appropriate and valuable contribution to its work and services. Through their donation of labour, skills and enthusiasm, the time needed to complete projects is reduced; and paid staff are enabled to devote more time and attention to tasks requiring specialised knowledge. In this way, volunteers and interns help the RAI to fulfil its mission in a cost-effective manner. In return, the RAI seeks to help them achieve personal goals within a non-profit organisation.

The following sets out the principles, practices and procedures which the RAI will follow in the appointment, training and management of volunteers and interns.

Selection of volunteers and interns

Volunteers/interns are selected on the basis of skills, experience, interests, the RAI’s needs and the person’s availability for a particular project.

Expressions of interest are welcome. They should be addressed to the Office Manager, who will be pleased to give informal advice. Applications for placement should contain a C.V. and a cover letter with details of the time frame that you would be available, including the number of days per week, and any preferences for the area you would like to work in. Applications are then forwarded to the appropriate staff and are vetted through a selection process. Wherever possible, an interview will be conducted with the prospective volunteer/intern in person or over the phone.


Volunteers/interns have a project supervisor who is their first point of contact. The supervisor will be responsible for monitoring the volunteer’s/intern’s work, giving feedback and discussing progress. Feedback meetings will be offered frequently during the project, and a final debriefing discussion held at the end of each project.

When a volunteer/intern is accepted and assigned to a staff member, they need to inform the Office Manager when they will be working, for how long and at which work station.  The Office Manager will keep a log of these details so that there is a central record of all volunteers/interns. 

At the end of the of the volunteer’s/intern’s time at the RAI the project supervisor will compile a brief work report outlining the time frame, tasks and any special projects that the volunteer/intern worked on.

Equal opportunities

The RAI has a policy of equal opportunities. It is committed to ensuring that the recruitment and treatment of its volunteers and interns are carried out without prejudice regarding sex, marital status, race, nationality, ethnic origin, age, class, sexual orientation, colour, disability or any other grounds which cannot be justified, thus making opportunities as accessible as possible.

Volunteers/interns involved in contact with the general public must have an awareness of the above issues.

Relationship between volunteers/interns and paid staff

Volunteers and interns complement the paid workforce but are not a substitute for employees. The RAI does not replace paid staff with volunteers/interns. The presence of volunteers/interns should not undermine the working conditions of employees. The RAI intends that relations between paid staff and volunteers/interns will be characterised by mutual trust and clear definition of their respective roles.

Key areas of work

The areas of work in which we particularly welcome volunteers/interns are:

RAI Film/ Photo Archive/ Archives and Manuscripts
RAI Education Programme (including special events for schools and teachers)
General office duties


The RAI reimburses volunteers’ and interns’ travel expenses (with receipts) within the London area, by the cheapest means available, unless these expenses are already covered or a special arrangement has been made.


The RAI regards volunteers’ and interns’ personal data as confidential. Volunteers/interns are expected to treat any information relating to the RAI, its membership and operations, to which they may have access both during and after the placement period, as confidential.


Volunteers/interns must not download, copy or transmit to third parties the work of others without permission, as this may infringe copyright.


Volunteers/interns carrying out their assigned tasks within the RAI premises are covered by the RAI’s Employers’ Liability insurance.

Disputes and complaints

We hope and intend that all periods of volunteering and internship will be happy and rewarding to all parties, occasionally, however, things go wrong. Any problems that may arise on either side should be resolved through informal discussion. If the issues prove to be irreconcilable, either side has the option to terminate the arrangement with immediate effect.