Why become a volunteer?
Becoming a volunteer has many attendant benefits including personal and professional development, improved health and the chance to develop social contacts. By engaging with their local community, volunteers have the opportunity to utilise their skills to make a positive contribution to the lives of others.
Where can I volunteer?
Generally, volunteer work occurs within not-for-profit organisations and community events such as music festivals and sporting competitions. You can work in many different environments whether it be indoors or outdoors, in a group or alone and at different times of day.
Are there any special requirements?
Depending on the volunteer position you’re applying for, you may be required to undergo a police check or possess a blue card if the position includes contact with a minor.
Are volunteers covered by insurance?
Any volunteer involving organisation is strongly urged to have adequate insurance cover to protect its volunteers. It is advisable for volunteers to enquire about what forms of insurance an agency has. Common types of insurance policies are:
Voluntary workers personal accident insurance
- Provides financial compensation for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by an accident which results in the injury or death of a volunteer in the course of performing authorised voluntary work.
Public liability insurance
- Covers compensation and legal costs for claims made against an organisation for personal injury or property damage.
Will I be required to undertake any training?
All volunteers should expect to receive adequate training to complete the tasks expected of them. Any training expenses should be covered by the agency.
What are the rights and responsibilities of volunteers and agencies?
Volunteers have the right to:
- work in a healthy and safe environment
- be interviewed and employed in accordance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation
- be adequately covered by insurance
- be given accurate and truthful information about the organisation for which you are working
- be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the organisation for which you are working
- be given a copy of the organisation’s volunteer policy and any other policy that affects your work
- not fill a position previously held by a paid worker
- not to do the work of paid staff during industrial disputes
- have a job description and agreed working hours
- have access to a grievance procedure
- be provided with orientation to the organisation
- have your confidential and personal information dealt with in accordance with the principles of the Privacy Act 1988
- be provided with sufficient training to do the job
Volunteers have the responsibility to:
- be reliable
- respect confidentiality
- carry out the specified tasks defined in the job description
- be accountable
- be committed to the organisation
- undertake training as requested
- ask for support when you need it
- give notice before you leave the organisation
- value and support other team members
- carry out the work you have agreed to do responsibly and ethically
- notify the organisation as soon as possible of absences
- adhere to the organisation’s policies and procedures
Organisations have the right to:
- receive as much effort and service from an unpaid worker as a paid one, even on a short term basis
- expect conscientious acceptance of responsibilities as to promptness, reliability and good performance
- expect enthusiasm and belief in the work the organisation is doing
- express opinions about poor volunteer effort in a diplomatic way and suggest a change to another job
- make a decision as to where the volunteer would best fit
- expect from the volunteer clear and open communication at all times
- expect loyalty to the agency and only constructive criticism
- expect from volunteers given leaderships responsibilities, an effective work productivity
- release an unsuitable volunteer
Organisations have the responsibility to:
- plan the volunteer program before recruiting volunteers
- recruit, interview and select the right volunteer for the right job
- provide written job descriptions and procedures for volunteer jobs
- orientate volunteers by providing information about the organisation’s purpose, structure, programs, policies and procedures
- provide initial training and ongoing training where necessary
- include volunteers in decision making where decisions affect volunteers’ work
- keep records of volunteers’ goals, training and feedback support sessions
- communicate clear expectations and provide the appropriate support and supervision for volunteers
- formally and informally recognise volunteers efforts in the organisation
- continually evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of volunteers in the organisation