Articles for volunteers

Some questions to ask yourself before volunteering

Often, there are so many volunteer opportunities to choose; finding the right one is difficult. Here are some helpful hints:

Pick an issue you really care about.
What are some community problems that concern you, If your choices include broad issues like, health or environment, you may want to narrow it down to specific parts of the problem (e.g., cancer or clean water).

Ask your friends.

Over 65% of all volunteers who volunteer do so because they were asked.

Look at immediate needs.
Organisations submit immediate needs to the Volunteer Centre. Review their needs and get some ideas of the possibilities. Check out the online database.

Think about your skills.
Are there skills that you have that you'd like to use in a volunteer opportunity?

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Family Volunteering

Family volunteering occurs when family members volunteer together in community service activities. They may come from different generations in combinations such as parent/child or grandparent/parent/child, or from same generation, such as adult partners, or brother/sister. Download or browse our Step by Step Guide to Family Volunteering to learn more.

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is defined as the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of the society and the community, the environment or individuals outside one's immediate family. It is undertaken freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain.

  • A volunteer is someone from the community who contributes to the development of the community. They are valued as individuals who bring a unique contribution to the group with whom they work. Volunteers work for no reward other than the development of themselves and the community. They accompany others towards a common goal.
  • Volunteering covers many varied and different activities, from visiting an elderly or sick neighbour; getting involved in a youth club, scouting or guiding club; assisting a charity with its finances or administration; helping someone to read and write; the list is endless.
  • Anyone can volunteer. It doesn't matter whether they are young or old, male or female, able bodied or disabled, in paid work or not, there is something they can do. Some people volunteer a few times a year when they have spare time, others give a regular commitment of several hours per week and some even volunteer on a full time basis.
  • At The GVC we aim to enable a person to do voluntary work if they so wish. In doing so we aim to give priority to the needs of the volunteer, to help them to work within their own area of interest and to aid their self development. We also promote best practice in regard to all voluntary activities.

Tips for a wise volunteering choice

Whether you want to volunteer on a once off or on a regular basis, there is an organisation who likely needs your help.  If you already know what you'd like to do, you can contact us directly to check what opportunities are available.

If you're not sure what you'd like to do and would like to know more about volunteering without making any commitment, the information below is a good place to start.

Getting Started

1. Research the causes or issues important to you.

Look for a group that deals with issues about which you feel strongly. You might already be giving money to one of these organisations or you might know of a organisation locally you'd like to get involved with.

2. Consider the skills you have to offer.

If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for volunteer work which would incorporate these aspects of your personality. Many positions require a volunteer who has previous familiarity with certain equipment, such as computers or who possesses certain skills, such as ability in athletics or communications. For one of these positions you might decide to do something comparable to what you do on the job during your work day,or something that you already enjoy as a hobby. This sort of position allows you to jump right into the work without having to take training to prepare for the assignment.

3. Consider what organisations need.

It's usual to think that an organisation needs volunteers to do the more obvious jobs associated with their work, for example the local under 10's football team needs a coach. But they may also need drivers or someone to do their typing.

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Your rights & responsibilities as a volunteer

Whilst volunteering can be the habit of a life-time, the opportunity is there at any age. For many it has provided the chance to try something completely new.

Taking part in your community can lead to a better understanding of your own abilities, some you never even knew you had! There are probably many more things to interest you than you had imagined possible. Not only in the areas of caring and companionship, practical support, information and advice services, transport, administration and fundraising but animal welfare, heritage and conservation.

Volunteering is the gift of time. Nevertheless it's important not to feel over stretched. The help you give should certainly not prevent you from pursuing any hobbies, or your family and social life.

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Reasons for Senior Citizens to Vounteer

Social Contact. Volunteering in your local community means that you get to socialise, make contact and meet new people on a regular basis.

Offer a lifetime of experience and skills. Organisations and those you work with will value the wealth of life skills and experience you have to offer.

Develop new interests. Volunteering in your community offers you the chance to develop new interests and skills that you may never have had the chance to before.

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