HelpOUT is a volunteer matching service, managed by Volunteering Victoria, dedicated to assisting communities impacted by a disaster with relief and recovery activities. We take offers of volunteer assistance, registering and linking them to community organsiations when help is needed.
When a community is affected by a natural disaster or emergency ‘spontaneous volunteers’ can provide the surge capacity that is critical in the disaster recovery phase. But they can also present significant challenges for emergency managers and the community.
Emergency relief and recovery organisations can be overwhelmed by high numbers of volunteers offering assistance, and the work of coordinating and managing new volunteers can also detract from the critical work of assisting the affected population. If volunteers start working independently, they risk being uninsured for injury or accidental damage. They may also end up doing work that is simply not required by the affected community at that time.
Volunteering Victoria’s new HelpOUT emergency volunteering service links people who want to help with real community needs. HelpOUT acts as a shock absorber, registering sudden high volumes of new volunteers after an emergency, and matching them with the needs of organisations working on relief, recovery and prevention activities in affected communities.
We pre-register volunteers all year round. By registering with HelpOUT, individual volunteers can be sure that their skills, capacity and willingness can be used in an emergency, when the need is greatest.
How does HelpOUT work
HelpOUT is like a recruitment service for emergency relief and recovery volunteers. We maintain a database of individual volunteers who are ready, willing and able to help. We record each person’s availability, location, and unique skills or equipment.
Then when organisations working in disaster-affected communities need extra help, they can request HelpOUT volunteers with the right skills from Volunteering Victoria. We’ll search our database for the most suitable volunteers, and contact them to offer specific volunteering opportunities.
What kind of jobs do HelpOUT volunteers do?
All sorts of things! It depends on the community’s emergency relief and recovery needs, and the type and scale of disaster or incident. Some of the most common activities that organisations may need volunteers to help with could include:
Some more specific and highly skilled activities could include things like:
We encourage everyone who registers through HelpOUT to select from the skills in the list, and also to use the text field to tell us about any other unique skills or qualifications you can offer. Every emergency is different, and you never know what may be needed.
G21 Pilot Region
Because HelpOUT is a new service, Volunteering Victoria is conducting a pilot it in the G21 Region to test the concept and make sure it is as good as it can be, before taking it state-wide.
Commencing from 1 February 2016 as a pilot, the HelpOUT program will respond to any emergency occurring with the G21 Region which consists of the following Local Government Areas of:
While HelpOUT is in its pilot phase, the Victorian government’s Volunteering Portal will register and manage volunteers for emergencies in Victoria outside the G21 region. Visit www.volunteer.vic.gov.au
For volunteering in emergencies in other states, please visit www.emergencyvolunteering.com.au
For more information about HelpOUT, please call 03 8327 8560.
Volunteering Victoria acknowledges the support of the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments through the National Disaster Resilience Grants Scheme, and our project partners Volunteering Geelong and Volunteering Queensland.