Volunteering

Volunteering

Why volunteer?

  • make a difference: engage with something worthwhile
  • feel better: improve health and well-being through meaningful social contact
  • move on: enhance your career prospects, try something new

Volunteering tips

  • do something you love
  • try something new
  • be realistic in terms of amount of time, degree of regular commitment, what you are willing and able to do
  • start small, do not over-commit yourself at the beginning

Different ways to volunteer

  1. Register

Register as a volunteer with Volunteer Centre Oxfordshire (OCVA), Volunteer Link Up, or Do-It. OCVA can help you to find a suitable volunteering role and provide support and training.

2. Do your own search

Find organisations that interest you and contact them.

  • Many larger charities and social enterprises are well organised about supporting volunteers
3. Initiate community action

Many people simply take action to do something they like or initiate something that they would like to see in their neighbourhood. It may be joining a letter pick, helping to run the local community shop, starting a pop up cafe in the village hall, or getting an open space designated to safeguard it for the future. There are lots of resources available to support community action volunteers. See the resources section or contact Community First Oxfordshire.

Useful links

Resources for Community Action

Getting started

  • What is it?: Define your idea, discuss it with friends. Do you need other people? Do you need funding? Do you need expert advice?
  • Get help: Identify and get in touch with people who can help you (see useful links)
  • Get people on board: Hold an event, distribute a survey, gather email address of people who are interested, communicate with them:
    • Creating simple surveys
    • Communications strategy
    • Feedback form
    • Skills audit

Establish a group

  • Most community action needs 2 or more people to make it happen. It is motivating to work with others as well as enabling you to share the work.
  • Decide how formal the group needs to be (if at all). Does it need a constitution or terms of reference? Will it need a bank account? Can another organisation hold funds on your behalf eg the parish council or community association?
  • In taking the decision on how to set up, be aware of liability if you enter into any contracts and any other risks. If there are significant risks, consider forming a legal entity or putting your activity under the umbrella of another organisation that has insurance and limited liability.
    • Constitution
    • Terms of reference
    • Management committees

Plan how to proceed

  • Develop a project plan
  • Consider costs, identify sources of funding

Implement Actions

Maintain momentum

Volunteering while on benefits

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