HealthAgenda

Giving back

Give back by becoming a volunteer

Volunteering benefits you and society as a whole.

Health Agenda
February 2017

Ever felt like you'd like to give back, but unsure where to start? According to GoVolunteer, 6 million Aussies volunteer each year.

Their reasons probably vary: for some it might be to make a difference, for others it could be about meeting like-minded people or even boosting their CV by gaining practical experience or developing transferrable skills.

Whatever brings you to volunteering, giving back is likely to be a rewarding, life-affirming experience. Research indicates that volunteering enhances social cohesion and strengthens communities. For the volunteer it increases social inclusion, physical and psychological wellbeing and can even create career opportunities.

Where to start

If you'd like to get involved, start by thinking about the causes you care about. Also consider how you could make use of your skills to help others.

If you don't have any specific skills there are plenty of opportunities to do your bit – GoVolunteer alone lists more than 10,000.These range from specialist roles such as financial counselling and Tai Chi instruction, through to basic gardening and offering friendship to aged care residents.

There are many other organisations and charities that actively seek volunteers. A simple internet search provides a snapshot of the range of ways you can give back in your spare time.

Finding the right opportunity for you

Before you get started it's worth thinking about how much time you would be able to commit and whether you'd rather participate in a one-off event or be involved long term.

The role you choose should suit your:

  • interests
  • motivations
  • availability
  • location.

Volunteering checklist

Before you agree to a role, GoVolunteer recommend you check that:

  • the organisation is a legitimate volunteer involving organisation
  • the purpose of the organisation matches your own values and beliefs
  • the organisation carries public liability and volunteer personal accident insurance
  • your role is clear and specific
  • the organisation can provide you with written information about its purpose and activities
  • you're satisfied the funds of the organisation are expended in accordance with its mission.