The value of volunteering
Did you know that more than 6 million Australians make a difference by volunteering each year? A national study in 2010 showed that 36.2 percent of people aged 18 years and over participate in formal volunteering. There are many reasons people volunteer. Some people undertake volunteering in order to gain new skills, whilst others use volunteering as a way to meet new people or to make a difference to their local community. The variety of different tasks that can be completed by a volunteer is endless. Volunteering is a two-way exchange where people give, but also gain valuable experiences and skills in return.
Many volunteers may be unaware that their activities are considered volunteering. Volunteering itself can mean different things to different people. In 2001, the United Nations adopted specific criteria to differentiate volunteering from other behaviours. According to the United Nations, volunteering is
- not to be undertaken primarily for financial gain
- is undertaken of one’s own free will and
- brings benefit to a third party as well as to the people who volunteer
People structure the way that they volunteer in many ways. Some roles involve short (or even longer term) projects where you would be involved for a block of time or just as a one-off activity. Other roles will offer shifts that would be on a regular or casual basis and fit around your other commitments. Organisations like Cire Services will include information about the times needed when advertising for a volunteer position and individuals can discuss availability and flexibility when initially making enquiries about the role advertised. Becoming a volunteer can also have an added bonus, not only giving the opportunity to learn new skills, but also give you a pathway that can then lead you to paid employment.
So what does it take to become a volunteer?
Most volunteering organisations will have a checking process to protect volunteers and the people they will be working with. Organisations will ask you to provide identification (eg. Driver’s licence), a reference letter or contact details of a referee and depending on the type of work undertaken you may require further screening, such as providing a working with children check.
As part of the induction process, discussions will also occur outlining the organisation’s policies and procedures.
Here at Cire Services, we are fortunate in having a group of hard working dedicated volunteers who contribute to a range of activities. Russell Varney is one of those hard-working volunteers that always presents with a positive attitude and helps out in a range of our education groups. Russell is the 2017 winner of the CHAOS Volunteer Award for Cire Services for 2017.
Another one of our valued volunteers is Judy Cook (main image) who helps out in the administration area on a weekly basis. Judy shared the following comment about what volunteering means to her:
“Having worked in the not for profit sector for twenty plus years, I was interested in giving some of my time to a community organisation after I retired. Just a few hours a week can make all the difference. Volunteering enables me to meet new people and keep in touch with some of my former colleagues. Volunteering allows the exchange of ideas and information and it is rewarding for me to share my experience and feel valued.”
In 2018, Cire Services will be working on a number of projects that will require a range of volunteer skills and backgrounds, so keep an eye out on our Facebook page and website for some exciting volunteer opportunities to be announced.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers at Cire Services for their hard work and contributions and wish them all a restful and relaxing Christmas and New Year.
If you would like to find out more on becoming a volunteer or about what we offer here at Cire Services contact us on 1300 835 235.