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Steps to Volunteering

Author: Anne-Maria Brown

Posted on: June 2017

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Volunteering opportunities are all around and could be for a few hours, in your local area and even overseas.  Below are some steps to consider before making the leap:
 
Step 1:  Why do you want to volunteer?  What type of volunteering would you like to do?  What cause or organisation would you like to be involved with?  This could be with children, older people, homeless people, animals, the environment, sports, theatre or arts.
 
Step 2:  You will need to be committed and be able to work as part of a team.  What skills do you have to offer?  If you have IT skills, perhaps you like driving, teaching, are creative, have good organisational or fundraising or perhaps you are good with people. 
 
Step 3:  How much time can you give?  You will need to be clear how much time you are able to give.  Be up front about other responsibilities you may have which may mean you won’t be available.  Setting expectations is important – and remember to factor in the time spent travelling.
 
Step 4:  It is important to find the organisation and role that is right for you.  You can look at websites of organisations that have volunteering opportunities.  Visit a local group that interests you and ask if they need any volunteers.
 
You can talk to your local cvs / vda or volunteer centre.  Do some research, how well does the organisation support its volunteers, who will you report to, how do you claim expenses.  When you make contact are they friendly, helpful and engaging? 
 
Some organisations, particularly larger ones, will have a formal volunteering programme.  Some will be more informal and may have less resources to support volunteers.  However, that doesn’t mean that they won’t value your time.   
 
Step 5:  Do you jump straight in?  You may find it beneficial to agree a short trial period.  This will allow you to see if you enjoy the role and working with the people you are with.
 
Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t work out.  Take the time to reflect and try again. 

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