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Before You Start

 

If you decide that you would like to get involved in volunteering but you are not sure exactly what you would like to do, then think about WHY you want to volunteer. This can be a useful way of helping you to focus on the sort of volunteering you want to undertake.

Why volunteer?

 

  • Give something back to your community or society 

  • Gain valuable training and experience which may lead to paid employment
  • Make use of special interests and talents
  • Learn new skills and/or develop new interests 

  • Meet new people with similar interests
  • Find out more about an area of work you are considering as a career 

  • Have a chance to take some responsibility and make decisions
  • 
Be an active citizen
  • 
Make a difference

How will I manage my time?

The following questions should help you to focus on what you would like to do and the time you have to offer:

  • How much time can you spare for volunteering? Remember your other commitments (family, hobbies, employment) and try not to over commit yourself.
  • Are your circumstances likely to change in the near future?
  • What period of time can you commit to volunteering?
  • For example, one day? A month? Six months?
  • Some voluntary projects require you to stay for a minimum period of time, so do check before you decide on a project.
  • How much time do you wish to commit to volunteering? For example, one day a month, one hour a week, more than this or less?
  • What times of the day are you free? Morning? Afternoon?
  • What days of the week are you free?

What other factors should I take into account?

  • Do you have your own transport? If not, is it easy for you to use public transport to get to your place of volunteering?
  • In what ways do you feel you can best contribute?
  • What are your particular skills and interests? What do you really enjoy doing?
  • Do you prefer to work with people or not?
  • If you prefer working with people, is this on a one-to-one basis or in groups?
  • Do you prefer to do something practical i.e. with your hands?
  • Would you prefer to do something you have already done, utilising skills you have already acquired, or would you prefer the challenge of doing something new?
  • What skills and interests do you already possess?
  • Many everyday skills are useful when volunteering. Make sure you don’t overlook skills such as writing letters, decorating, talking, listening, DIY, driving, reading, shopping, sport, leisure and outdoor activities, entertainment, gardening etc.
  • If you want to work with people, have you identified a particular group of people with whom you would like to work?
  • For example, children under 5 years of age; young people; the elderly; families; people in hospital; homeless people; people with a physical disability or learning difficulty.

In search of some inspiration? Check out what you can do to get started or browse volunteering opportunities in your area on I-VOL, the national database of volunteering opportunities and listings,

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