Volunteering 101: Things to Consider Before You Start

Volunteering can be a great way to do the things you love and help support an important cause as well as others in need. However, it’s often not as simple as putting your time and showing up. Here are a few things you should consider for before volunteering:

What do you want out of the experience?

There are a lot of reasons people volunteer – it could be to make new friends, build network, take care of animals, support an important cause, promote certain values and beliefs, and more. Find out your purpose for volunteering – once you establish this, it will be much easier to choose the best opportunities and organisations to participate in.

 

What do you want to do?

Volunteering is about helping others, but you should also be able to enjoy yourself in the process. The perfect volunteering role will allow you to utilise your talents and fulfil your interests. Think about the things you like doing – be it cooking, mentoring, or meeting new people – and start from there.

 

Can you commit?

Volunteering is not always easy, and sometimes it could take a significant amount of your time and energy. Some assignments that you take up early on might end up becoming overwhelming. It is advisable to learn deeply about your role and responsibilities, and then decide if it is right for you.

 

Have you done the necessary background checks?

Some volunteering opportunities would require you to complete a police or criminal background check, as you might be working with ‘vulnerable’ groups such as children, seniors, people with disabilities, and asylum seekers. Checks are an important screening tool, but not all opportunities would demand this – so ask your volunteering organisation just to make sure.