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Volunteer work - questions to ask before you start

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Now is the perfect opportunity to give back to the community one of the most valuable things you can offer – your time. Volunteer work is rewarding, meaningful, and helps those who need it most. You may want to do it to ‘give back’ to society – or it may be the path to a new career. But, like any other job, you must do your research and ask the right questions before you start.

Where are the volunteer jobs?

It’s easy to find out about opportunities. Positions are advertised:

  • in newspapers and local magazines
  • on television and radio public service announcements
  • on corporate volunteer bulletin boards
  • in employment offices
  • on company websites and job boards.

  • If you haven’t seen a request for help that interests you, flip through the telephone book and call the local volunteer centre or a few companies regarding their available opportunities.

Types of business that may offer volunteer positions

When considering volunteer opportunities, think about specific work and organisations that would provide the appropriate intellectual and emotional satisfaction.

Companies frequently in need of volunteers include:

  • hospitals
  • churches
  • libraries
  • museums
  • environmental groups such as Green Cross and Greening Australia
  • public radio and television stations
  • theatre groups
  • animal shelters
  • scouting organisations
  • literacy programs
  • support groups
  • social and sporting clubs
  • political groups
  • societies for diseases/medical conditions
  • community centres
  • homeless shelters
  • schools
  • nursing homes
  • orphanages
  • festivals
  • special events and many more.

Things to consider before accepting a volunteer position

Before you commit yourself to any volunteer project, ask these important questions to ensure that your volunteer work is what you are looking for:

  • Will you have a job title and written job description (to be used later on your resume)?
  • Will you need your car for work-related activities? If so, will you be reimbursed?
  • How flexible are the working hours?
  • How long is the commitment?
  • Will your volunteer work hinder your paying job (either currently or in near future)?
  • Will you be reimbursed for additional out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Will you receive special training or additional education? If so, who will pay for it?

So go ahead and find yourself some volunteer work – you may be surprised at the opportunities, people and experiences it brings to your life.

If you liked this article you may also like to read "Make the change to work that matters."