Volunteer Ireland
Connecting Communities Through Volunteering

Frequently Asked Questions

I am not a volunteer…yet

I am a volunteer

I am an organisation

I am a company

General

How can I become a volunteer?

If you would like to volunteer, it’s good to take some time first to think about what you might like to do, what skills you have and how much time you can spare. Check out our quick tips on what to think about before you start.

To find a suitable volunteer role, you can search all available volunteer opportunities on our website here. You can narrow down your search by location, cause, activity and keyword. If you find a role you like, you can register and apply online by clicking ‘Apply Now’.

Alternatively you can find the details of your nearest Volunteer Centre here. You can call or email the Volunteer Centre and one of the placement officers in the centre will be able to help you. If you have any queries after you have registered on I-VOL, you can contact your local Volunteer Centre and they will help you with your query.

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Will I need to be Garda vetted?

A common misconception is that everyone needs to be Garda vetted before they can volunteer. You will only need to be vetted if the volunteer role involves regular access to children or vulnerable adults. For more detailed information, please visit our Garda vetting information page. And check the Garda Vetting FAQ page on the Garda Síochana website.

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I can’t find a volunteer role that suits. What should I do?

If you don’t find a volunteer role that suits you, you should register on I-VOL and check back in a few days to see if something suitable has become available. You should also make contact with your local Volunteer Centre who can help you find a suitable role.

Remember that while there are thousands of opportunities on I-VOL, not all organisations advertise their opportunities with us. If there is a specific cause or organisation you would like to volunteer with, consider contacting them directly.

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I want to volunteer abroad.

Volunteer Ireland promotes and supports volunteering here in Ireland so we don’t have specific information on volunteering abroad. If you are interested in overseas volunteering, we recommend visiting Comhlámh’s website – www.comhlamh.ie. Comhlámh has provided advice and support for people interested in overseas development work since 1975. They aim to develop best practice in the growing sector of overseas volunteering, and to support volunteers in a longer-term commitment to development. They also have a Code of Good Practice for volunteer sending agencies where you can find over 30 organisations who provide quality volunteering opportunities overseas.

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I live abroad but want to come to Ireland to volunteer.

Volunteer Ireland, Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services only work with volunteers and organisations based in the Republic of Ireland. To register as a volunteer on I-VOL a volunteer must have an Irish address and all volunteering opportunities advertised on I-VOL are based in Ireland.

If you would like to search volunteer opportunities before you arrive you can do so here but you won’t be able to apply until you are in Ireland.

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I’m a transition year student and need to volunteer as part of my curriculum.

There are a number of ways students can try to find a suitable volunteering role for Transition Year Placements. However, it does depend on the roles available at the time and if they are suitable for under 18s. The volunteering roles that are advertised on our website and by our affiliate Volunteer Centres are from organisations around the country who have a specific need/event they require help and support with. So the variety and number of roles can vary depending on the organisations who contact us.

A student can search our nationwide volunteer database here by location and interest, and if a suitable opportunity appears in the search results, a student can apply directly to the organisation. Alternatively, a student can call or email their local Volunteer Centre or Volunteering Information Service.

In some cases the school (transition year head) contacts their local Volunteer Centre to ask for any suitable opportunities for this age group.

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I am under 18 and want to volunteer.

You can volunteer if you are under the age of 18. However finding a volunteering role depends on the roles available at the time and if they are suitable for under 18s. You can search for suitable volunteer opportunities in the ways outlined above.

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I want to volunteer but don’t have much time.

If you would like to volunteer but don’t feel you can commit a lot of time, you should consider short term or one-off volunteering. When searching for a role on I-VOL, select ‘Short term/seasonal/once off’ from the ‘Activity’ drop down menu to view available short term opportunities.

Volunteer Ireland and a number of Volunteer Centres also run volunteer programmes at events and festivals. For more information see:

www.dlrvolunteercorps.ie (Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown)

www.eventvolunteers.ie (Fingal County and Dublin City)

www.volunteercorps.ie (South Dublin County)

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I want to volunteer but I have additional support needs.

If you have additional support needs, this does not preclude you from volunteering. When you register with your local Volunteer Centre, please make them aware of your additional support needs. They will make sure that you are placed with an organisation that can support your needs as a volunteer.

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I am having issues applying for a volunteer role on I-VOL.

If you are having an issue applying for a role or wish to make amendments to your information, please contact your local Volunteer Centre. You can find the details of your local Volunteer Centre here.

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I am a volunteer

I want to change my details on I-VOL.

If you wish to make amendments to your information, please contact your local Volunteer Centre. You can find the details of your local Volunteer Centre here.

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I have recently moved. Where is my closest Volunteer Centre?

If you have moved residence within the same county (or county council area in Dublin), your Volunteer Centre will remain the same. If you have moved to a different county or county council area within Dublin, please contact your current Volunteer Centre and they will transfer your details to your new centre.

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I am having trouble / unhappy in my volunteer role.

If you are already volunteering for an organisation and have a complaint or difficulty, inform the organisation of this grievance as outlined in their volunteer policy or complaints policy.

If the organisation does not have a volunteer policy or complaints policy in place, make your complaint in writing to the organisation and keep a record of all written correspondence. Even without a volunteer policy, most organisations will work swiftly to resolve complaints.

If you feel that your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction and there are no further ways to engage with the organisation, always remember that you are free to leave. There are thousands of great not for profit organisations in Ireland looking for volunteers. When you give up your time for others, make sure they value that time. Read more in our short factsheet.

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I am an organisation

I would like to advertise a volunteer opportunity.

If you would like to advertise a volunteer opportunity, you can do this through our national database of volunteering opportunities in two ways.

You can register your organisation online here. You will then be assigned to your closest Volunteer Centre or Volunteering Information Service and can begin to advertise roles.

Alternatively you can contact your local Volunteer Centre directly and they will register your organisation and post your volunteer opportunity on I-VOL. You can find your local Volunteer Centre here.

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I would like to advertise a volunteer opportunity based in more than one county.

If you have a volunteer opportunity in more than one county, please follow the steps outlined above to advertise the role. You will automatically be assigned to your closest Volunteer Centre based on where you are but you can advertise roles in every county in Ireland. This is so you have just one point of contact for all of your volunteering needs.

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I have lost my I-VOL login.

There is no way to ‘log in’ to I-VOL as such. If you are already registered and would like to advertise a volunteer opportunity, you will need your organisation key. If you have lost this, please contact your local Volunteer Centre who will be able to help. If you would like to amend an ad or your own details you will also need to contact your local Volunteer Centre to do this.

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I want to amend my details/my volunteer opportunity.

If you wish to make amendments to your information or an advertisement, please contact your local Volunteer Centre. You can find the details of your local Volunteer Centre here.

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Our office has moved. Where is our closest Volunteer Centre?

If you have moved premises within the same county (or county area in Dublin), your Volunteer Centre will remain the same. If you have moved to a different county or county area within Dublin, please contact your current Volunteer Centre and they will transfer your details to your new centre.

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I need advice/support on managing volunteers.

If you need support or advice on volunteer management, please visit our resources page where you will find helpful guides, advice and templates. Volunteer Ireland also offers a full training calendar covering all aspects of volunteer management which can be viewed here.

If you need more specific advice or support, please contact us or your local Volunteer Centre.

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What policies and procedures should we have in place for involving volunteers?

Every organisation is different and your needs will depend on the size of your volunteer programme. At minimum, Volunteer Ireland recommends that any organisation that involves volunteers has a volunteer policy in place and asks each volunteer to sign a volunteer agreement. There are many additional policies and procedures that can support your volunteer programme and templates of these can be found here. Remember, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to volunteer management.

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We would like to invite a corporate volunteer team to deliver a project.

Volunteer Ireland delivers a corporate volunteering programme, matching companies who want to engage employees in volunteering, with organisations that need volunteers. If you are a charity or community organisation who would like to welcome a corporate volunteering group to tackle a project, please contact Darren Cannon at darren@volunteer.ie.

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I am a company

Our company wants to organise a staff volunteer day.

If your company would like to organise a staff volunteer day, please get in touch with our Corporate Team or fill out an expression of interest form. Volunteer Ireland provides a Team Impact Day service that matches teams of employees with not-for-profit groups for unique and meaningful community volunteer days. They are suited to companies with limited internal resources to source and manage a team volunteering project and companies new to volunteering.

With our Team Impact Day service, Volunteer Ireland can help you identify your corporate volunteering ethos, connect your company with volunteer organisations, source projects for your staff, and evaluate the volunteering experience.

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Our company wants to develop a volunteer programme.

If you would like advice on setting up an employee volunteer programme in your company, please contact Terri O’Brien at terri@volunteer.ie.

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I am interested in skilled volunteering

If you are interested in learning more about skilled volunteering in your company, please contact Terri O’Brien at terri@volunteer.ie.

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General

What is volunteering?

Volunteering is defined as the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of society, local communities, individuals outside the immediate family, the environment or other causes. Voluntary activities are undertaken of a person’s own free will, without payment (except for the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses). Volunteering can be both formal and informal. Formal volunteering is when someone gives their time to a specific organisation while informal volunteering can be as simple as doing the shopping for an elderly neighbour.

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Who is Volunteer Ireland?

Volunteer Ireland is the national volunteer development organisation and a support body for all local Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services in Ireland. Our goal is to make sure that everyone who wants to volunteer, can volunteer. You can learn more about our work here.

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What are Volunteer Centres and Volunteering Information Services?

There are 21 Volunteer Centres and 8 Volunteering Information Services in Ireland. They are affiliated to Volunteer Ireland but are independent legal entities.

Volunteer Centres provide a placement service between individuals and groups who want to undertake voluntary activity and organisations that are seeking to involve volunteers. Their primary function is to match individuals and groups interested in volunteering with appropriate volunteering opportunities. They also undertake a variety of additional work such as garda vetting, promoting volunteering and training in volunteer management.

The aims of Volunteering Information Services in Ireland are the same as Volunteer Centres. The difference between the two is that Volutneering Information Services are significantly smaller and as such they have no walk in location with full time staff matching volunteers and organisations. Instead, this is done through the website of each Volunteering Information Service.

You can learn more about VCs and VISs here and you can find your local centre here.

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What is I-VOL?

I-VOL is the national database of Irish volunteering opportunities. It can be accessed on our website here and on the website of each Volunteer Centre and Volunteering Information Service. I-VOL houses tens of thousands of volunteer opportunities at any given time. You can search for opportunities by location, cause, activity or keyword. To learn more about using I-VOL, check out this great video by Dublin City Volunteer Centre.

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How many people in Ireland volunteer?

There is not much data available on volunteering in Ireland. The most recent official data is from the 2013 Q3 Quarterly National Household Survey by the Central Statistics Office. This shows that 28.4% of people over the age of 15 in Ireland volunteer. That’s just over 1 million people.

Ireland has a strong track record of volunteerism. We are number one in Europe in terms of volunteering time according to the CAF World Giving Index.

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What are the benefits of volunteering?

While many people volunteer to give something back, most volunteers find that they experience a number of benefits too. Volunteering is a great way to meet people, become part of a community and develop or sharpen skills. It has also been proven to have benefits to both physical and mental health. To learn more, read Volunteer Ireland’s report into The Impact of Volunteering on the Health and Well-being of the Volunteer.

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