Thinking of Volunteering? Here are a few questions for you to think about.

What do you hope to gain from Volunteering?

Are you looking at achieving something specific? It could be that you need to learn new skills for a job you already hold or that you’d just like to meet new people or gain work experience. Many volunteers find jobs through volunteering as charities that are growing through the use of volunteers set up services that then need part time paid staff.

How much time can you spare for volunteering and when are you available?

Are you think weekends or only in the week? Many of us prefer after hours but then that can mix up your home life schedule too and many charities need help during office hours too. Volunteers are often asked to commit to a time and a day and a number of hours as the charities have clients with particular needs and also have to take into account part time staff.

Think about your own lifestyle and what would fit in best for you and your commitments and then find a charity that you can help.

How far are you willing / able to travel?

It’s not just about getting to the charity itself. Many charities have offices but if you’re not seeking an office bound volunteering opportunity, you may be required to travel to other sites. Think about how you’ll do that if you don’t have your own transport.  Check the bus routes near you and if they run on the days and times that you want to volunteer.  Can you get a lift or walk? Even as a volunteer you need to let the charity know if you cannot make it to an appointment or to help on a project as they rely on you and funding is used trying to find a replacement.

What type of volunteering are you interested in?

There are so many different causes and charities that support a variety of causes and the services that support them. It’s quite hard to choose what to focus on but the idea is to choose something you enjoy. Roles can vary a lot from befriending to cooking, driving to caring or finance, writing grants applications or inputting data. Charities offer really varied experience which makes them an ideal place to pick up new skills.

Once you can answer all these questions satisfactorily for yourself, research which charities are closest to you and which can offer you the opportunities you’re looking for.

Don’t wait for them to advertise, just write to them or call them. Remember to do your research and have a look at their current projects to see if there is an opportunity you could suggest to them. Get involved!

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