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Five Questions to Ask Yourself when Choosing a Volunteer Program

Choosing a Volunteer Program

When you are interested in doing volunteer work or community service, the initial process can be overwhelming because of the many organizations or programs out there. Naturally, you need to do a thorough research to make sure that you have an aligned goals (or purpose) with the organizations. It doesn’t help to join organizations focusing on environment and reservation if you are more interested in helping animals or kids, for instance.

To help you make the research easier, there are several questions that you need to ask before choosing any organization or program. Find out the answers to these questions and you should be able to make decisions based on them.

What Is the Main Goals and Aims?

Naturally, you should have several organizations that pique your interest. And you would compare one another, for sure. While doing so, you need to understand each organization’s primary goals and aim. By looking at the goals, you can learn about the ethos. Finding the goal is pretty easy – just go to the mission statement section and you can learn from there.

main goals and aim
main goals and aim

If you still have questions, you can contact the organization and ask them directly. It will also help to read their promotional literature, such as websites, brochures, or leaflets, to understand more about the organization.

How They Choose the Volunteers?

Every organization has their own specific requirements or standards when choosing volunteers. Do they require professional qualifications or the general ones are enough? Do they require prerequisites like religious beliefs, previous working experience, age limits, or such thing alike? Organizations generally have their own program listing, but it doesn’t hurt to contact them and ask them for confirmation.

What Are Volunteers’ Working and Living Conditions?

If you volunteer in a program that is close to home and you can easily commute to, then you may not need to know the accommodations or facilities. But in the event that you are volunteering in a place that is far from home, you need to know about the facilities, accommodation, and availability of transport.

Working and Living Conditions
Working and Living Conditions

You also need to collect information about major health issues in the area. Do they provide insurance? Do you have to arrange it by yourself? In most cases, you may have to share accommodations with other volunteers. What about the arrangement? You don’t want to arrive on spot only to find out that it is in a remote place and it doesn’t have any running water either!

Do They Connect You with the Former Volunteers?

You want to gather information from those who have been involved in the projects and who have gone through everything. They can give you valuable info, handy tips or tricks, and helpful advice about the whole thing. They are the ones who understand the program’s ethos and they have been through it.

Ask the organization if they can arrange a meeting with the former volunteers. Such organizations can generally manage an alumni contact gathering. If they can’t, they can provide you with each participant’s email address so you can contact them right away.

Do They Have Volunteers’ Job Description?

Just to make everything clear, you need to ask for the work’s job description. You need to know the amount of work clearly, with whom you will be working with, the organizations’ expectation from the volunteers’ role, and the numbers of working hours.

Those are the questions that you need to ask while performing your own research. Don’t rush things and you can make a wise decision.