How to apply for BFD?

Are you passionate about making a difference in your community and considering applying for a Bundesfreiwilligendienst (BFD) in Germany? The Bundesfreiwilligendienst, or Federal Voluntary Service, offers individuals of all ages the opportunity to engage in meaningful social service and contribute to various fields. Whether you are a recent graduate, a career changer, or someone looking to give back, this blog post will guide you through the process of how to apply for a BFD in Germany.

How to apply for BFD: This is the Typical Process

Applying for a Bundesfreiwilligendienst (BFD) in Germany involves a structured process that ensures a smooth and efficient application experience. Here is a typical step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application process for a BFD:

Research and Choose a BFD Placement

Start by researching different BFD placements available in Germany. There are numerous organizations and institutions that offer BFD opportunities in various fields, such as social work, education, healthcare, and environmental conservation. Consider your interests, skills, and the causes you are passionate about to find a BFD placement that aligns with your goals.

Contact Placement Organizations

Once you have identified the BFD placements you are interested in, reach out to the respective placement organizations or institutions. They will provide you with detailed information about their application process, requirements, and available positions. It’s essential to clarify any questions you may have and ensure that the BFD program suits your preferences and expectations.

Review Application Requirements

Carefully review the application requirements provided by the placement organization. Typically, you will need to submit a completed application form, a motivational letter, and copies of your certificates and qualifications. Pay attention to any specific documents or references required and ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for the BFD program.

Prepare Your Application Documents

Gather the necessary application documents and prepare them according to the instructions provided. Tailor your motivational letter to highlight your motivation, relevant experiences, and skills that make you a suitable candidate for the BFD placement you are applying to. Ensure that your resume (curriculum vitae) is up-to-date and includes details of your educational background, work experience, and any volunteer or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your commitment to community service.

Submit Your Application

Follow the application instructions provided by the placement organization. Some organizations may have an online application portal, while others may require you to send your documents via email or regular mail. Pay attention to application deadlines and submit your application well in advance to increase your chances of securing a BFD placement.

Attend Interviews and Selection Process

If your application is shortlisted, you may be invited for an interview or further selection process. This may involve personal interviews, group assessments, or additional tests to evaluate your suitability for the BFD program. Be prepared to discuss your motivation, experiences, and your goals for the BFD. Show enthusiasm, professionalism, and a genuine interest in the program and the organization.

Acceptance and Placement

If you are selected for a BFD placement, you will receive an acceptance letter or offer. Review the terms and conditions of the placement, including the duration, working hours, accommodation arrangements, and any financial support provided. Once you have accepted the placement, make any necessary arrangements, such as housing or travel preparations, according to the instructions provided by the organization.

Orientation and Training: Before starting your BFD, you may be required to attend an orientation or training session. This is an opportunity to learn more about your role, responsibilities, and the organization’s policies and procedures. It also provides a chance to meet fellow volunteers and establish connections within the BFD community.

Where to find BFD positions to apply for?

  • You are also welcome to take advantage of our personal advice and order our free newsletter to receive announcements for BFD placements
  • See all BFD listings on the German Work Agency’s website (you may search for the terms “BFD” and “Bundesfreiwilligendienst” here
  • Search for the terms “BFD” or “Bundesfreiwilligendienst” on Make it in Germany.
  • Search in the database of

Which organizations offer BFD?

In addition to looking in German job portals you may check those organizations directly that often offer the BFD positions:

  • Arbeiterwohlfahrt
  • Caritas
  • Red Cross
  • Diakonie
  • Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband
  • Central Welfare Office of the Jews in Germany

Looking at those organization’s websites provides you with many open positions and the opportunity to apply.

Similar Alternatives to the BFD

Introduction: While the Bundesfreiwilligendienst (BFD) is a popular voluntary service program in Germany, there are also alternative options available for individuals looking to engage in meaningful service. These programs offer similar opportunities to make a positive impact and contribute to various sectors. Let’s explore some alternative options to the BFD:

  1. Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr (FSJ): The Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr (FSJ) or Voluntary Social Year is a widely recognized program that shares similarities with the BFD. Like the BFD, the FSJ allows individuals of different ages to engage in social service and contribute to various fields such as healthcare, education, and social work. The FSJ provides structured placements, training, and support for participants to gain valuable experience and make a difference in their chosen field.
  2. International Volunteering Programs: For individuals seeking a global volunteering experience, international volunteering programs can be a great alternative to the BFD. Organizations like the Peace Corps, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), or AIESEC provide opportunities to engage in community development projects abroad. These programs offer a chance to immerse oneself in a different culture, contribute to international development efforts, and gain valuable cross-cultural experiences.
  3. European Solidarity Corps (ESC): The European Solidarity Corps (ESC) is an initiative by the European Union that allows young people to engage in volunteering, traineeships, and job placements across Europe. Participants contribute to various projects that aim to address social challenges, promote solidarity, and foster intercultural understanding. The ESC offers opportunities for personal and professional growth while making a positive impact within Europe.
  4. Local Volunteer Networks and Organizations: Apart from structured programs, there are numerous local volunteer networks and organizations that offer volunteering opportunities in communities. These can range from grassroots initiatives to well-established nonprofits. Engaging with these organizations allows individuals to contribute to specific causes or issues that resonate with them, such as homelessness, animal welfare, or youth empowerment.
  5. Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr (FÖJ): The Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr (FÖJ) or Voluntary Ecological Year focuses specifically on environmental conservation and sustainability. Individuals interested in environmental issues can participate in the FÖJ, where they can work in nature reserves, environmental organizations, or educational institutions. The FÖJ offers opportunities to learn about ecological practices, nature conservation, and sustainable development.
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