What are the benefits of using the Volunteer Referral Service?

By using the VRS you have access to a variety of different volunteering roles in different organisations all over Sydney and some in regional areas of NSW. Our skilled and experienced interviewers can help you find a role that is suited to your skills and experience to help you make the right choice.  All our member organisations have current Public Liability and Volunteer Accident insurance for your protection.

Where can I volunteer?

The Centre for Volunteering can put you in touch with a wide range of opportunities in not-for-profit organisations across the Greater Sydney area. To find volunteer positions in regional NSW, we can refer you to your nearest volunteer resource centre.

What kind of work can I do?

Almost anything!! For example: aged care; office administration; gardening; special events; driving; community work; childcare; and community visiting.  The list is endless!  There are any number of opportunities in the community for you to make a difference.  Our Volunteer Referral Service is here to help you find the volunteer role that is best suited to you.

Do I have a choice about where I volunteer?

Absolutely. We aim to match your interests and skills with the specific requirements of different not-for-profit organisations. You’ll be consulted about where you’d prefer to work as a volunteer. We’ll also talk to you about the skills, interests, values or ambitions that you’d like to match with your volunteering opportunities.

How long do I have to commit for?

It’s your choice. Your commitment to a particular role depends upon your circumstances, interests, and the length of time your volunteer position is available for. Some organisations will set the minimum length of time a volunteer position is required for.

How much time do I need to give?

You can volunteer at any time of the week – day or night. While most volunteering takes place during office hours, you can volunteer at evenings and weekends too, depending on what you want to do.

Typical volunteer opportunities outside office hours include: campaigning, telephone counselling services and help lines, mentoring and tutoring, sports and special events. Virtual volunteering provides flexible opportunities to volunteer online. Most roles range from 2 – 16 hours per week.

Are there age restrictions?

There may be age requirements depending on the type of volunteer role. Some not-for profit organisations have a policy of not involving volunteers under or over a certain age.  Insurance is often the reason for this.  Organisations will specify if there are age restrictions for a role.

Can people on tourist visas volunteer in Australia?

The Department of Home Affairs has updated its website information on people on visas volunteering. Generally speaking, if a person’s visa allows them to do paid work they are able to volunteer, however everyone’s circumstances and visa conditions are different.  Please check the Department of Immigration website for the latest information.

Can I volunteer with my family or friends?

Some volunteering opportunities are available for groups. Examples of volunteering for two or more people include bush-care and special events. Check the website for special event opportunities or contact us about group volunteering opportunities that are currently available.

Do I need experience or qualifications?

This depends on the role. Some volunteer roles require specific skills or qualifications, while others ask only for a willingness to learn. Training is often made available to volunteers if it is required.

I work full time – can I volunteer?

Yes. There are many volunteer opportunities that do not require you to be available during “normal” office hours. One of the best things about volunteering is that it can be done when it best fits your lifestyle. Many organisations would love to find volunteers who are able to volunteer evenings, nights and/or weekends.

Will I be interviewed?

There is a set procedure for all volunteers interviewed by The Centre for Volunteering. The interview process gives you, and the organisation, a chance to assess each other and an opportunity to ask questions. It is important to ensure that you are well-matched to a volunteer opportunity.

A typical interview may include any of the following:

  • Why you are interested in volunteering?
  • Are you interested in any particular sort of role?
  • What skills do you offer?
  • Are you interested in learning new skills?
  • How much time you have?

You can ask them anything that you want to know, including:

  • Does the organisation cover agreed out-of-pocket expenses?
  • Are there any training opportunities?
  • What is the scope of the role?
  • What support and supervision is available from a volunteer coordinator or manager?
  • Am I covered by the organisation’s public liability and personal accident insurance?

Do I need references?

Some organisations require references or referee contact details – these vary depending on the role. Before referring you to a particular volunteering opportunity we will talk to you about any references or referee contact details the organisation requires.

Will I need a background check?

Some volunteer roles, particularly those where volunteers are interacting with vulnerable people, e.g. elderly, children and people with a disability, may require background checks such as police checks or working with children checks. You will be advised if a check is required.

I’ve been referred to an organisation. What happens next?

Most organisations will want to conduct a further interview. This gives you and the organisation the chance to get to know each other. In addition, it gives you the chance to get a feel for the organisation, and sometimes the opportunity to meet the people you’ll be working with.  Further interviews may be conducted on the phone or in person.

What happens if I start volunteering but I decide to leave?

You are under no obligation to keep a volunteer position that you are unhappy with. To see if your issues can be addressed, talk with your supervisor, manager, or volunteer coordinator before you give an appropriate amount of notice that you’re leaving your voluntary role. Most organisations have a grievance procedure. If you feel strongly that something should be done, access this process to seek a resolution.

What can I do after volunteering?

The skills and experiences that you gain while volunteering are often very useful for careers and life generally. They can also enhance your resume. Many organisations will also provide you with a reference. Many people use volunteering to try out a new career or to secure paid employment; others find the experience valuable for personal reasons.

I’m interested in volunteering overseas. Can you help me?

We have information on our website regarding organisations that deal with volunteering overseas.  Please note: These organisations are not affiliated with the Centre for Volunteering and are not a recommendation from us.  Find out more.

Will volunteering cost me anything?

It does not cost anything for individuals to volunteer. Organisations providing volunteer opportunities may be able to reimburse minor expenses such as travel. Out-of-pocket expenses must be agreed by the organisation before they are incurred.  These may include travel, meals purchased while volunteering, special clothing, etc. It is a good idea to enquire about expenses before committing to a volunteer role.

More questions?

If this Volunteer Q and A hasn’t answered your question, email our team and we will help you out.