Deciding to give your time to volunteer for an organisation is an important and wonderful choice. When looking for a suitable volunteer role, most people focus on the role itself and the tasks required. It’s also important to do your research on the organisation you want to volunteer with. In the Republic of Ireland, there are no legal rights protecting volunteers, as there are with employees. Therefore, it’s important that you carefully consider where you volunteer, and know what to do if you are not happy.
This guide lays out what you can do to make sure you have a positive volunteering experience, and what to do if it doesn’t go as planned.
The best way to ensure you have a good volunteering experience, is to ask the right questions before you start volunteering with an organisation. These are:
While the above list is not exhaustive, they are the major questions that you should ask before you join an organisation as a volunteer.
There are a number of other considerations that may make an organisation even more attractive, which you may want to consider:
If you have done all of your research and are still unsure of whether to join an organisation, consider finding another that will meet your requirements.
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.