Volunteering… Presented by the Volunteer Centre of St. Lawrence-Rideau
What is a volunteer? • A volunteer is someone who works for a community or for the benefit of the environment primarily because they choose to do so. Many serve through a non-profit organization – sometimes referred to as formal volunteering, but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group. • By definition, a volunteer worker does not get paid or receive compensation for services rendered other than reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses. • Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volunteer)
Why Should I Volunteer? • Discover your strengths & interests • A chance to practice decision making, problem-solving, and leadership skills • Develop employable skills such as interpersonal and communication skills, teamwork, time management, ability to take initiative • Continued..
Build a terrific resume/cover letter • Networking opportunity • Get good references • Explore career options • Knowledge that you have made a difference in the lives of others
What other ways could I benefit? • There are other positives that you may not be aware of, according to an Ontario study of the health benefits of volunteering: • Reduced stress level, anxiety, and depression • Improved self-esteem • Increased mental functioning in older adults • Motivation to maintain a better lifestyle
How does an agency benefit? • Provide a link to the community • Broadening the range of knowledge and expertise • Provide a voice in the community for the organization and it’s causes • Increase capacity to expand services
Before you volunteer.. • Things to consider before deciding on a volunteer position: • Why do you want to volunteer? • How much time you have to volunteer, and when are you available? • What jobs do you not want to do? • Is there a specific organization or age group of people that you would like to assist?
What may be involved when pursuing a volunteer opportunity? • An agency will employ a screening process that could include some or all of the following: • Application forms • Interviews • Reference check • Police record check
Why a screening process? • It is designed to identify any person (volunteer or staff) who may not be appropriate for a specific position. • Advantages of screening: • Create and maintain a safe environment • Ensure an appropriate match between volunteer and task
Sample interview questions • Have you volunteered before? • Why do you want to volunteer with this organization? • What would you like to get out of this volunteer experience? • What are your interests? • When are you available to volunteer? • What skills and abilities would you like to share or obtain? • Are you prepared to provide references and a police record check?
Questions you may want to ask • What work will I be doing? • How much experience does this position need? • What type of training is involved? • Will your organization provide me with a letter of reference?
References • If you are asked to provide references you will need to submit names and contact information for 2-3 people who can speak on your behalf. • Employer, teacher, club leader, leader of faith community • The individual should have known you for at least 6 months to 2 years, and be able to speak to your abilities, trustworthiness, and dependability.
Police Records Checks • Some organizations will ask potential volunteers to provide a police records check • This request is dependent on the nature of the volunteer position • Requirements and instructions to acquire the check will be advised by the organization to which you are applying
A note to volunteer-place ethics • Ethics are sometimes at risk in a volunteer position • Here are some important factors to be mindful of: • Arrive on time • Dress appropriately • Act professionally • Be respectful of others • Listen to instructions • Don’t be afraid to ask for help • Notify your contact/volunteer coordinator if you cannot fulfill your committed time • Maintain confidentiality
Invaluable Volunteers • Many agencies would not be able to provide services crucial to the community without the commitment of volunteers • The benefits of volunteering are far-reaching, and are worth the small amount of effort it takes to secure a volunteer position
42 George Street, PO Box 1813 Brockville ON K6V 6K8 Tel: 613.345.7000 or 866.269.0200 Fax: 613.342.7831 www.volunteercentre.ca