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How to get involved with volunteer work

Retirement  |  7/04/2017  |   5 min read

Retirement allows you to put your feet up and relax. But a lot of people find themselves getting restless after a few years.

Volunteer work may be the solution. It’s a great way to stay active, meet people, and find a new sense of purpose.

We spoke to Roz Wollmering from Volunteering Victoria, an organisation that helps connect people with worthwhile causes, about the benefits of community work

Can you us know a little about the services that Volunteering Victoria provides?

We see our role as leading the development of collaborative, sustainable, and thriving volunteering communities. We help volunteers to find suitable positions. We also provide information and advice on volunteering issues.  

A lot of people consider volunteer work when they retire, but may not know where to find appropriate opportunities. What advice would you have?  

Understand what your key motivations for volunteering are and what you expect from the experience. Do some research before you jump in and talk to others who are volunteering about their experience.  What are you keen to do or not do and what type of team culture are you looking for?  How much time do you have to give?  How far can you travel and how long can you commit?  How flexible are you?   

[Once you know what you’re looking for] you can search GoVolunteer.com.au to see what opportunities are currently advertised close to where you live.  Some volunteer roles are not advertised on-line and you might want to check in with your local community organisations, councils, farmers’ market, op-shops, faith based or sporting groups to see if they have a volunteer program.  

There’s a perception about the types of volunteer roles that are available, but they’re actually quite diverse, right?

The need for volunteering is far reaching and diverse – volunteers support all segments of society from sports, arts and museums, schools, parks, health and community services, refugees and asylum seekers, animal welfare and emergency services.  You can do hands-on volunteering, use your professional skills to serve on Boards, or provide pro-bono services in technical areas.      

What are some of the benefits of volunteering?

Volunteering renews your sense of purpose.  Volunteering fulfils deep human purpose to connect with and support others and make a difference.  It increase confidence, develops skills, increases health and wellbeing and grows your friendships and networks.  And it’s fun!

What are some of the more in demand volunteer roles that organisations are always looking to fill?

Drivers, mentors, fundraisers, community visitors, customer service people, gardeners and horticulturists, food preparation and service. The need is great and the list as well.

What else should people know about volunteer work?

Volunteering is a serious endeavour that requires commitment and is not a spur of the moment desire. Be prepared that applying for a role can involve police checks, interviews and/or participation in an information session. On the positive side, it will transform you for the better and open new horizons. 

How do I get involved?

 

You can speak to representatives from volunteering organisations at Equip's upcoming Retirement Ready Expos. Please click here for dates and venues in your capital city, and to reserve your seat.

For more information about volunteering please visit Volunteering Australia or Volunteering Victoria.
 

Check your retirement income with the Equip calculator