Things to Think About

Things to Think About

This section is about some things you want to think about as you are getting started with your volunteering and doing those first few shifts.


Choosing an Organisation

There are lots of organisations to choose from and many do similar things.  Your time and resources are precious and it's a good idea to put them into the right place.  Do some research into the organisation you are thinking about volunteering for and aks yourself some questions:

  • Do they use language and have an attitude that I agree with?
  • Where does their money or resources come from, does it feel legitimate?
  • Do they help the people you are interested in helping?

There are some questions you can ask of them too:

  • How do you decide who you help?
  • How will I be protected and supported as a volunteer?
  • Who do you as a group get support from?

Spend some time thinking about the organisation and if it feels like it is well organised and is providing support to the people that need it.  Remember, anyone can set up a group and do things that they say supports the community.


Time or Money?

You may have the opportunity to give time and money to a cause.  You may have only time and no money or no time but money to give.  Either way, these resources are something you should think about giving with caution.


You control how much time to give to an organisation.  As a volunteer, you have no obligation to give any more time than you want to.  Be clear with your organisation how much you can give. 

Make sure you understand the expectation of the organisation of how much time they want you to give and if you are comfortable with that.  If you cannot fulfil what they want, another organisation may want the time you can give.

Only use your own money under agreement with the organisation.  Unless they state in advance, you will not get your money repaid.  It is good practise for you not to buy food/goods for households with your own money.  Only do so if you can afford to or there is a clear system of you getting the money back from the organisation.  Funders do not give money for things you have already bought.

If resources are stretched, make sure that you understand the expenses procedure



The group you are volunteering with may not be able to pay expenses.  If this is something that you need in order to be able to volunteer, you may have to find another group to support.  Check in advance if this is something they can provide and you are comfortable with the answer.  Remember, unless you want to be, you should never be out of pocket volunteering.

If they do provide expenses, thinking about the following:

  • How much mileage do they pay and will it cover what you need?
  • Do they reimburse you for goods that you buy for the group or the people it supports?
  • What is their process?  Most have an expenses form (which will log miles) and need evidence of purchase like receipts.


Information and Details

As you will be out and about and doing your role you may be unsupervised and therefore unsupported.  Make sure that you know in advance exactly what your role is and what that entails.

Check our page on Boundaries for more thoughts.

You may also have to provide an Emergency Contact number for a person that the group can call if anything happens to you.  Think about who this could be and ask their permission to pass on their details.

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and as Company Limited by Guarantee No:6805818

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