Volunteering is a great way for people, regardless of their age, cultural background, location or circumstances, to get involved in the community. But we are all different and may want to volunteer for different reasons. Some of us get involved for charitable reasons, some to meet new people or some to learn new skills. Most of us don’t know about the variety of volunteering opportunities or the many other benefits of volunteering.
Apart from the satisfaction of helping out your community, there can be heaps of reasons why you should volunteer. Here’s just a few:
- Meet new people and make new friends
- To give back to, or get involved in, my community
- Experience new challenges
- Raise awareness and support important community issues
- Experience different cultures
- Help people or contribute to social change
- Develop professional networks
- Find a pathway to getting a job or into a course or training
- Learn new skills or gain experience in a variety of roles
- Explore different career and job opportunities.
Research has also found a significant connection between volunteering and good health with reports showing that volunteers have:
- Longer lives
- Lower rates of depression
- Less incidence of heart disease
- Higher functional ability.
Introduction to volunteering workshop
The Introduction to Volunteering workshop is an informal introduction to volunteering. It is of particular value to those who are volunteering for the first time and those who are seeking different volunteering experiences. Come along to this free session and learn about:
- The benefits of volunteering
- The volunteering opportunities available
- Identifying the skills that you have to contribute to volunteering
- Rights and responsibilities of volunteers and volunteer involving agencies
- How to find the right volunteering position for you
I have been volunteering for around a year, and I can definitely say I get much more out of it than I had expected. I’ve made new friends, learnt new skills and feel like I am contributing to the community
What skills do I need?
There are a wide and varied number of volunteering roles that will be able to utilise your particular skills, interests and abilities.
Before choosing a volunteer position, think about what skills you have that you could bring to an organisation and does the organisations core values and goals align with yours. These could include, from your working life:
- Business skills (e.g. Accounting)
- Social Media and technological skills
or your personal interests or hobbies:
- Driving and so much more
After going through our Introduction to Volunteering session, we will make a time to meet with you and discuss the volunteer positions available, your skills, interests and hobbies to try and match you to the right volunteering position for you.
What are the expectations
As a volunteer, you may hear or see confidential information and it is expected that you understand what is confidential information. Broadly; personal & confidential information falls into the categories of financial, health, sexuality, family and legal issues. But different people consider different information as confidential. For example, you may have no concerns about who knows your age but someone else might not like other people knowing.
Volunteering Western Victoria takes its duty of care towards volunteers seriously, therefore you can be assured that we will only refer you to positions with organisations that have the appropriate insurances such as Public Liability Insurance. When looking at volunteering positions it is wise to ask if the contact person if the organisation has Public Liability Insurance. Some organisations also hold other types of insurance such as Professional Indemnity and/or Directors and Officers Liability Insurance.
Duty of Care
As a volunteer you have to take reasonable care to ensure that people are not harmed or injured as a result from your actions. This is known as a duty of care. Duty of care simply means being in a position where someone else is likely to be affected by what you do or do not do, and where, if you are not careful, it is reasonably predictable that the other person might suffer harm.
Organisations have a duty of care towards you, their staff, other volunteers, clients and the general public. Therefore you may require a number of checks to be completed prior to you starting your volunteering term.
This depends on what type of volunteer position you have chosen. Most organisations these days will require a National Police Record Check, particularly if you are working with vulnerable people or if you will be handling money. If you will be working with children you may also be required to have Working with Children Check. If you are going to be volunteering for any Home and Community Care programs and you have lived outside Australia for 12 months or more in the last 10 years, you will also be required to undertake an International Police Check. If you are going to be driving an organisations fleet vehicles then you may also be required to undergo a Driver History Check.
Many organisations will pay for these check on your behalf, but you will need to check when you for your interview. You may also be asked to provide the names of character referees (not family members) so that the organisation can learn more about you.
If you volunteer with us then you will have to undergo several checks, however these are at no cost to you. Here at Volunteering Western Victoria we use CrimCheck to conduct our police record checks.
We have put together some resources which you may find helpful:
- Volunteer rights and responsibilities
- Volunteer rights and volunteer checklist
- Definition and principles of volunteering
Should you have any questions please contact us.