What should I expect as a volunteer?
- Your travel expenses to be paid, but this does depend on the size of the organisation, so it’s always worth checking.
- A clear outline of what is expected of you. This is usually in the form of a written role description.
- Training and guidance on your role.
- Support or supervision from a paid member of staff; in smaller organisations and groups this may be from an experienced volunteer.
- To be safe and covered by insurance to carry out the tasks you’ve been given.
- To be made aware of the organisation’s policies and procedures, including who you should talk to if you are unhappy.
- To feel valued by the organisation and able to contribute to its development.
If these expectations are not met, or you have problems that you cannot sort out with the organisation where you volunteer, contact us and we can advise and support you.
What are the benefits?
There are many reasons why people choose to volunteer. Their decision may be based on a desire to support a cause close to their heart or to undertake an activity that will benefit them personally. There’s something for everyone, regardless of a person’s motivation, preference or skill. And volunteering is open to all.
These are some of the reasons people choose to volunteer:
- To build confidence and self esteem
- To gain a sense of purpose
- To gain fulfilment and satisfaction
- To gain recognition
- To explore career interests.
A recent poll has found that 80% of people said that being kind/volunteering had a positive influence on their health. (Mental Health Foundation, 2012).
- To maintain, develop or share existing skills
- To gain new skills, knowledge and experience
- To improve employment prospects (through proven experience on your CV and volunteering references)
- To gain an accreditation
- To make a difference in someone’s life.
- To meet new people and make new friends
- To improve life prospects
- To have quality time away from your existing lifestyle.
- Support your community
- Make a difference locally
- Give back to the community
- Help people who are isolated or disadvantaged
- Improve the environment.
What are the barriers?
- Not having enough spare time to volunteer
- Being put off volunteering by bureaucracy
- Being worried about risk or liability in volunteering
- Not knowing how to get involved
- Not having the right skills or experience.
How can the Volunteer Centre help
to overcome these barriers?
- Not enough spare time? There are lots of volunteering opportunities which do not require a big time commitment and can be fitted around busy schedules. e.g. one hour per week, once per month, one-off volunteering, volunteering from home.
- Put off by bureaucracy? Procedures are there to protect us, but the Volunteer Centre can offer support to help you complete lengthy paperwork.
- Worried about risk/liability? The Volunteer Centre will only signpost you towards organisations with public liability insurance and safeguarding procedures to ensure that your volunteering experience is happy and healthy.
- Don't know how to get involved? The Volunteer Centre can provide you with the information you need to get involved.
- Not having the right skills or experience? A major benefit of volunteering is gaining skills and experience. The Volunteer Centre can help you find volunteering suited to your ability and interest.
Can volunteering help me into employment?
- Research has found that volunteering can help increase self-esteem and confidence amongst volunteers, skills which are invaluable in gaining employment. (Institute for Volunteering Research, 2009).
- Volunteering can demonstrate a multitude of attractive skills to employers, such as evidence of commitment and working within a team.
- Volunteering can provide you with references and relevant up-to-date experience.
News & information
Volunteer managers’ meeting: Meetings allow volunteer managers to meet and share good practice and experiences. The opening meeting is on 7 November. More information.
Experiences: Michele tells how a local company restored her confidence and helped her back into work.
We’re on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us for news and events. And all our volunteering opportunities appear there as they’re published.