How to Volunteer
To find volunteering opportunities you can search here: Search for Volunteering Opportunities. Once you have found an opportunity, you must be registered with Volunteer Ireland to volunteer for it. You can do register with Volunteer Ireland on our website here: Register to Volunteer.
Thinking of Volunteering? Here are some tips to make sure you make a wise volunteering choice!
1. Research the causes or issues important to you.
Look for a group that deals with issues about which you feel strongly. You might already be giving money to one of these organisations, and that might be a good place to begin your volunteer experience.
If you can’t find such an organisation, why not start one yourself? Some of the world’s greatest organisations have been started by volunteers … think of the Red Cross, Medicins Sans Frontieres, the GAA, Greenpeace, the Credit Union …the list is impressive. There is no end to the creative avenues for volunteering, just as there is no end to the need for volunteers.
2. Consider the skills you have to offer.
If you enjoy outdoor work, have a knack for teaching, or just enjoy interacting with people, you may want to look for a volunteering position in these areas. Many positions require a volunteer who has previous familiarity with certain equipment, such as computers, or who possesses certain skills, such as ability in athletics or communications. This sort of position allows you to jump right into volunteering without having to take training to prepare for the assignment.
3. Consider volunteering as a family.
Think about looking for a volunteer opportunity, which would be suitable for parents and children to do together, or, for husband and wife to take on as a team. When a family volunteers at a nonprofit organisation, the experience can bring them closer together, teach young children the value of giving their time and effort, introduce everyone in the family to skills and experiences never before encountered, and give the entire family a shared experience as a wonderful family memory.
4. Would you like to learn something new?
Perhaps you would like to move into areas that will provide you with novelty or change. Then seek a volunteer opportunity involving training in an unfamiliar skill. Many voluntary and community groups seek out people who are willing to learn, especially if the needs they serve are specialised or unique.
5. Don’t over-commit your schedule.
Make sure the volunteer hours you want to give fit into your hectic life so that you don’t frustrate your family, exhaust yourself, shortchange the organisation you’re trying to help or neglect your day job.
6. Nonprofits may have questions, too.
While most voluntary and community groups are eager to find volunteer help, they have to be careful when accepting the services you offer. If you contact an organisation with an offer to donate your time, you may be asked to come in for an interview, fill out a volunteer application and Garda Vetting form, describe your qualifications and your background just as you would at an interview for a paying job.
7. I never thought of that!
Many community groups which are looking for volunteers may not have occurred to you. Most of us know that, and sports involve volunteers for a great deal of their work, but here are some volunteer opportunities which may not have crossed your mind:
- Community daycare centers
- Neighborhood Watch groups
- Schools, breakfast and homework clubs
- Homeless shelters and transition housing
- Special Olympics clubs
- Addiction rehabilitation services
- Retirement centres and homes for older people
- Meals on Wheels
- Museums and heritage centres
- Community choirs, bands and orchestras
- Tidy towns, biodiversity, environmental and coastcare organisations
- Youth clubs
- Community gardens
- Social and economic justice organisations
8. Give voice to your heart through your giving and volunteering!
Bring your heart and your sense of humor to your volunteer service, along with the enthusiastic spirit that is, in itself, a priceless gift. What you’ll get back will be immeasurable!
9. Virtual volunteering? #VolunteerFromHome
Yes, there is such a thing! If you have computer access and the necessary skills, some organisations now offer the opportunity to do volunteering over the computer. This might take the form of giving free legal advice, typing a college term paper for a person with a disability, or simply keeping in contact with an isolated person who has e-mail. This sort of volunteering might be well-suited to you if you have limited time, no transportation, or a physical disability that precludes you from getting about freely. Virtual volunteering can also be a way for you to give time if you simply enjoy computers and want to employ your computer skills in your volunteering.
10. Be a year-round volunteer!
We all tend to think more of those in need during the holidays, but volunteering is welcome and necessary all year. We all need to be aware that making our communities, our nation and our world better is a 365-day-a-year responsibility and there is always something we could be doing to help.