Applying for a volunteering position is a bit like applying for a job. The recruitment process is there to help both parties find out more about each other and get the best match between volunteers and organisations. It's also important for you to find out as much as you can about the volunteering organisation and the tasks you will be undertaking so you can be sure it's something you really want to do.
Select a topic to find out more:
- Find a volunteer position of interest
- Complete an application
- Attend an interview or information session
- Additional screening requirements
- Tools and resources
Find a volunteer position of interest
If you've done your research (see our What can I do? page) you probably already know the kind of position you'd like. You may even have a short list of organisations that you'd like to volunteer with.
Most volunteering organisations also advertise their positions online, either on their own websites or on various volunteer-matching websites. Lots of websites also let you sign up for email newsletters or to get an alert when positions come up that suit you. Some people also find volunteering opportunities through their local council, schools, universities or personal and professional networks.
If you're really keen on an organisation, don't wait for a position to be advertised – call them up and arrange a meeting.
You can use this Volunteering Portal to:
Complete an application
Most advertised volunteering opportunities will have a description of the organisation and role and an outline of the application process. In your application you will be asked to provide:
- Your contact details
- Your availability
- Most importantly, some relevant information about yourself and why you want to volunteer.
While job applications are usually quite formal, a volunteering application gives you a chance to talk about your interest in the organisation, or for the role you want to fill. After all, you're likely to be getting involved as a volunteer because you want to, not because you have to.
Use the application to explain why you want to volunteer, your skills, passions and interests and what attracted you to the role.
You may also want to include a resume with your application. Just like with a job application, tailor your resume to the tasks and roles outlined in the volunteer role description. Use examples of skills and experiences from your work, family life, school, travels or study that show what you would bring to the role.
Don't get too bogged down with your application. It's simply a starting point to help the volunteering organisation learn a little bit about you. You'll have an opportunity to introduce yourself and learn more about the volunteering opportunity in the interview process.
Attend an interview or information session
It's pretty standard for volunteering organisations to conduct an interview or information session with prospective volunteers. These allow everyone to meet – and often you'll get a chance to meet other volunteers in these sessions.
Interviews are a chance for you to decide things like:
- How will I fit in with this organisation and its volunteers?
- How will it meet my goals and needs?
- Can I sustain the kind of commitment required for the role?
- Will I feel like I can contribute?
- Will I be respected and appreciated?
Likewise these meetings are a chance for organisations to understand what you want out of the experience and get a sense of how your involvement will meet both your needs.
Additional screening requirements
As part of their screening process, some organisations may need you to provide written references or contact details for referees (or sometimes both).
They may also require you to agree to obtain a police check or working with children check. Typically this is when your role involves working with vulnerable people, like children, seniors or people with a disability, or if you are visiting people in their homes.
These extra checks are not meant to intimidate volunteers or complicate the recruitment process. They are there for the protection of volunteers and the people they will be working with. Often organisations are required to undertake these checks as part of funding agreements they have with sponsors or government agencies.