The festive season often inspires people to volunteer their skills, talents and time to benefit others.
Volunteering Victoria has compiled a listing of organisations that may require additional volunteer support over December and January.
Roles currently available
- Uniting Care
- Melbourne Basket Brigade – Melbourne CBD
If you are looking for an opportunity close to home, you can also contact your local Volunteer Support Organisation (VSO). Visit our website to search for the VSO in your area.
Alternatively, visit govolunteer.com.au to search for more rewarding volunteering opportunities.
When considering volunteer opportunities over the festive season, there are however, a few things to reflect on.
For many community groups and organisations, the festive season is the busiest time of the year. Volunteering roles are in high demand and positions fill quickly.
Whilst most organisations are delighted to have additional assistance over the festive season, they are also open, and therefore welcome volunteers, 365 days of the year. Consider other periods during which you could volunteer.
In line with the National Standards of Volunteering Involvement, Volunteering Victoria supports best practice management for all volunteers. This includes the process of adequate support and training for volunteers and appropriate inductions. Not all volunteer involved organisations have large budgets to support training and induction for new volunteers. The number of volunteers in which they can safely engage at any one period restricts them and therefore opportunities may not be available during the period of time that you may wish to support them.
Lack of resources or limited budgets may prevent organisations expanding programs over the festive season. A volunteer environment is still a workplace that requires adherence of responsibilities by both the volunteer and the organisation. Keeping everyone safe is a priority and having appropriate levels of safety and support is paramount.
Volunteering is not free. There is a strong focus of ‘time willing given without financial gain’, within the definition of volunteering, however the support required to set up an activity including personal protective equipment, police checks, insurances and staff to supervise activities, is a real cost for any organisation. Some organisations have limited capacity in which they can operate and therefore are unable to support additional activities during the festive season.
Paid team members may have annual leave over the festive season; therefore, the organisation is unable to provide appropriate levels of support to volunteers, who often have little training due to the limited duration of the activity.
When considering where you would like to volunteer, think about the skills that you have to offer. This reduces the amount of support that you may require and may make you an attractive candidate for a volunteer role. Think about the task that you wish to involve yourself within, the amount of time that you have to offer and what motivates you to help. Sometimes, an organisation may not necessarily need additional hands on support. If there are no volunteer roles available, consider providing a monetary donation. This can be a practical and effective way to still support a cause or program.
The benefits of volunteering during the festive season
- People have the availability to volunteer, discover community groups and organisations.
- Volunteers can provide new ideas and support new ways of working.
- Volunteers understand and learn about the organisations mission and goals, becoming walking advocates for programs.
- Volunteering over the festive season has the potential to encourage longer-term volunteering.
- Skilled volunteers can make a contribution whilst juggling other commitments.
- Volunteers can support community groups and organisation during peak times.
- Community engagement is a valuable platform for active citizenship. Volunteering is a proven pathway to skills enhancement and can have a profound impact upon an individual’s wellbeing.
- There is a growing demand for volunteering roles, which helps to fulfil the demand over peak periods.
Volunteering, no matter what the duration, connects people to community and supports the Australian way of life. If you are not able to find a suitable role this festive season, be sure to start your search earlier next year. Once you have volunteered, you are likely to return for a fix of that fabulous feel-good-feeling!