Below we have gathered some reflections that we find useful before choosing to engage in volunteer work:
What do I want to work with?
When choosing where you want to put your volunteer efforts, consider whether you want to spend your time doing something you're good at, or something you would like to learn or get better at.
Many organizations are looking for volunteers with experience or academic skills in specific professional areas. Here you will be able to contribute with the skills you already have. You can also choose volunteer work that allows you to test yourself in new ways and learn something new.
What are my interests?
Is there a particular target- or age group that you're passionate about, such as children and adolescents, seniors etc.?
What are my boundaries?
Take into your considerations where your boundaries are. For example if you do not like conflicts, or if you are oversensitive about people with seriously illnesses, then choose volunteer work where you can avoid this. If you are unsure about what situations your chosen volunteer work will bring, please contact us or have a chat with the organization.
What do I expect to get out of it?
Some people volunteer to support a cause they are passionate about, while others do it as part of their education - to gain practical experience or to improve their résumé. Others are driven by the desire to use their spare time doing something meaningful or to meet new people.
No motives are better than others, but it's important to be clear about what you expect of your volunteer work. There is a great difference in the various volunteer jobs: In some you are more in touch with the users of the organization in others your help may be needed in more practical or organizational areas. Some organizations offer courses and some are focusing more on social events and the contact between their volunteers than others.
How much time can I use?
Consider how much time you can and will devote to volunteer work. Whether you have two hours a month or four hours a week, your efforts are welcome. But it's important to find a volunteer work that suits your expectations in terms of time consummation.
Some organizations expect you to commit for a longer period, such as six months or a year. This is also a good idea to clarify with the organization - and yourself - before you start.
Special rules for people on unemployment benefits and early retirement
There are special rules about volunteering, if you are receiving unemployment benefits or early retirement. For more information about this please contact us or your social worker.
Talk to the organization
Once you have found an organization in which you are interested to work, make time to have a personal conversation with your supervisors before you start. Ask them about the specific volunteer assignments and make sure that you have the same expectations to your efforts.