6 Nonprofit Organizations to Volunteer at if you LOVE Dolphins

6 Nonprofit Organizations to Volunteer at if you LOVE Dolphins

By Arielle Grinshpan on 18/04/2019

Do you adore dolphins? 🐬😁 Has it always been your dream to work with them? 

Well GivingWay has a bunch of nonprofit organizations on our platform where you can volunteer with dolphins! 💙 So if you’re passionate about these animals, whales, porpoises and just aquatic mammals in general, check out this list of 6 Nonprofit Organizations to Volunteer at if you LOVE Dolphins!

    1. Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU), Scotland
    2. FEMM Ecuador, Ecuador
    3. Oceanomare Delphis Onlus, Italy 
    4. Vivamar, Bottlenose Dolphin Research, Croatia 
    5. Marine Mammal Study Group / Groupe d’Étude des Mammifères Marins (GEMM), French Polynesia 
    6. Sea Watch Foundation, Wales 

1. Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU)

Where: Scotland

The Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the understanding, welfare, conservation and protection of cetaceans (aquatic mammals including the toothed whales – dolphins, porpoises, beluga whales, narwhals and sperm whales).

Located on the southern coastline of Scotland, CRRU conducts scientific investigation, provides education and operates the only specialist response team and rescue service in Scotland for live-stranded whales and dolphins.

Trainee volunteers have assisted CRRU in the collection, organization and analysis of data; this information is fundamental to their understanding and current knowledge of the distribution and ecology of whales and dolphins in Scotland and the Moray Firth.

Primary concentration is of an individually identified population of bottlenose dolphins that spend a large proportion of the year in the rich coastal waters of the southern Moray Firth and a subpopulation of minke whales that frequent particular sites along the northeast coastline during the fall.

Volunteers are fully incorporated as an essential member of the research team – in field studies of the animals: monitoring their numbers and distribution, studying their behavior and social dynamics, identifying individual animals, their status and more. Under scientific supervision, you will be instructed in the skills and techniques used by marine mammal biologists in their studies of these fascinating creatures.

They provide the opportunity to receive instruction on marine mammal rescue techniques. Education and public awareness activities are also an important area of the group’s work, as whales and dolphins provide an excellent medium for educating people about the impact of marine pollution and promoting concern towards the conservation of marine animals and the marine environment in general. With your help, talks can be arranged with community groups, schools, and at the local aquarium, on a weekly basis. Fundraising stalls, PR events, and exhibition work may also be attended, and these are often great fun for all involved.

Learn more about Cetacean Research & Rescue Unit (CRRU) >>

2. FEMM Ecuador

Where: Ecuador

Femm Ecuador provides the experience of volunteering with marine mammals in Ecuador!  

They are a nonprofit organization who work with the support of volunteers and have recently carried out projects with marine-coastal protected areas to preserve them in a better way.

Their mission is to promote and carry out scientific research, environmental education, sustainable management, responsible scientific tourism as well as the conservation of the marine mammals species, endangered biodiversity, the fragile land and coastal-marine ecosystems and natural protected areas of Ecuador. They also contribute to the development of management policies and legal regulations for their protection and conservation.

They have two main projects: 1. The Bottlenose dolphin program has field/office work carried out in el Morro Refuge during the whole year and 2. The Humpback whale program has field work that is carried out in el Pelado Marine Reserve.

Volunteers are needed for 1 month minimum. But if willing to volunteer for at least 6 months, volunteering is free. They also need skilled volunteers and online volunteers! FEMM is looking for volunteers who have a love of nature, biodiversity, protected areas, the environment and especially for Marine Mammals and those who can speak English and/or Spanish.

The main areas of work are: research, conservation, sustainable management, environmental education, responsible scientific tourism and policies. They also expect volunteers to be involved in conservation, education, administrative, social media/web, fundraising work and other activities.

Learn more about FEMM Ecuador >>

3. Oceanomare Delphis Onlus

Where: Italy

Oceanomare Delphis Onlus (ODO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and preservation of aquatic mammals: dolphins, porpoises, beluga whales, narwhals, sperm whales and beaked whales and their ecosystems. They lead research projects and conservation activities on these aquatic mammals in the Mediterranean sea and advance the science and practice of conserving them and marine biological diversity.

Since 1991, Oceanomare Delphis Onlus has organized and supported the Ischia Dolphin Project, a field research program which takes on numerous volunteers each year. This study has produced a large amount of relevant data which has contributed to the establishment of marine protected areas in several Italian islands and other waters.

Volunteer participants (that’s you) get to live on board (!) of a research vessel and each day is spent at sea, almost entirely dedicated to research activities and fieldwork! You’ll be asked to help researchers in the collection of data and sailing activities and watch until dolphins/whales are sighted, rotating with the researchers in shifts. Besides whales and dolphins, they also record the presence of sea turtles, tunas, swordfish, manta rays, large schools of fish and seabirds.

You’ll get to take part in data collection, such as filming dolphins with the underwater camera, collecting behavioral data, recording sounds, filming and photographing the animals for their identification and steering!

 Learn more about Oceanomare Delphis Onlus >>

4. Vivamar, Bottlenose Dolphin Research

Where: Croatia

Vivamar, Bottlenose Dolphin Research is a nonprofit organization that considers themselves a true ambassador of dolphins to people and works to preserve the whole marine ecosystem.

They work to conserve Bottlenose Dolphins in the NE Adriatic and offer once-in-a-lifetime hands-on experience out-at-sea and researching bottlenose dolphins! Their mission is to research, educate, and inspire for the conservation of the threatened local dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) within the European Union — in Slovenia and off the west coast of Istria, Croatia.

Volunteers are needed and their work is important in helping to protect the dolphin population that lives in this sensitive marine ecosystem. In your first week, you will attend morning lectures about marine mammals and marine ecology on both a local and global level. As a volunteer, you will learn how to understand valuable research data and actively help with dolphin conservation. You will also learn to distinguish between different dolphin species. Some of your tasks may include:

– Dolphin observation

– Data analyzing

– Entering data directly into the catalog, including observation notes

– Educating the local public on bottlenose dolphins and their importance for the entire marine ecosystem.


Learn more about Vivamar, Bottlenose Dolphin Research >>

5. Marine Mammal Study Group / Groupe d’Étude des Mammifères Marins (GEMM)

Where: French Polynesia

You could join Marine Mammal Study Group / Groupe d’Étude des Mammifères Marins (GEMM) – a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of whales and dolphins in French Polynesia!

Composed of biologists, naturalists, photographers, scuba divers and sailors who care about the future of marine wildlife, GEMM has three principles: knowledge, conservation and mediation.

As they’re situated in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean, their field vocation motivates them to carry out annual marine mammal surveys in sensitive or vulnerable areas. They mainly work on problems related to the unframed development of marine mammal tourism and the conflicts between fishermen and cetaceans within the Marine Mammal Sanctuary of French Polynesia.

Their mission is to preserve the natural functioning of animal populations in their ecosystems and their goal is to improve the relationship between humans and wild animals.

Their work on the existing conflicts between fishermen and marine mammals consists of identifying the species involved in depredation and proposing solutions that respect the well-being of whales, dolphins and fishermen.

They’re looking for committed people who are ready to support them in their missions and annual expeditions to monitor the health status of cetacean populations. With GEMM, volunteers discover a new vision of wild marine mammals in exceptional settings. Among the highlights of their missions and expeditions are the animals on which they work, the sharing of their knowledge, the involvement of the participants in the individual recognition of the dolphins that we have been following for almost 10 years, the incredible scenery of the Tuamotu archipelago and the kindness of the inhabitants of Makatea.

Volunteers will help with observation, collection and archiving of data on a small community of bottlenose dolphins impacted by diving tourism in Rangiroa and humpback whales in Makatea.

Learn more about Marine Mammal Study Group / Groupe d’Étude des Mammifères Marins (GEMM) >> 

6.  Sea Watch Foundation

Where: Wales

You could help achieve better conservation of whales and dolphins in the seas around Britain and Ireland with the Sea Watch Foundation!

The Sea Watch Foundation is a research and conservation charity working with the public to further the preservation and management of whales, dolphins and porpoises in UK waters, dedicated to raising awareness, knowledge and conservation of the marine wildlife of the region.

They’re a national marine environmental research charity that involve the public in scientific monitoring of populations and the threats they face. It’s the longest-running research charity in UK focusing upon cetaceans around the British Isles, and maintains a national sightings database, the largest in Europe.

Internships with Sea Watch have frequently led to established posts in national and international research and conservation bodies, as well as providing a stepping stone for students to undertake doctoral studies in marine mammal science.

Every year they recruit a group of Research Volunteer Interns for their summer research season. In addition to this they also recruit an Education Assistant and a Research Assistant/Intern Coordinator.

Interns are invited to assist the Sea Watch Foundation (SWF) with the running of the “Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project”. The project is based in New Quay, West Wales, and supports the conservation management of the bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and grey seal populations of Cardigan Bay. They monitor their abundance, distribution, reproductive success and population structure using a combination of vessel-based and land-based surveys. Cardigan Bay contains Britain’s largest coastal population of bottlenose dolphins, for which two Special Areas of Conservation have been established under the EU Habitats Directive.

Learn more about Sea Watch Foundation >> 


We hope this list of nonprofit organizations committed to conserving dolphins and their natural habitats has inspired you! So what are you waiting for? Apply and you could be on your way to working with dolphins! 😍