Tips for writing volunteer opportunities
We hope the following tips and frequently asked questions can provide some insight into how the volunteer matching service works and how you can write your volunteer opportunities to maximise your exposure to a diverse range of prospective volunteers.
Select a topic to find out more:
- What is the volunteer matching service?
- How does the matching service work?
- How do I make sure my opportunity is a good match with people’s needs?
- Do I have to fill out every item when I create an opportunity?
- What if I don’t have all the information that’s needed when I’m creating an opportunity?
- What happens if I want to change something after an opportunity is published?
- What happens after my opportunity expires?
- View our sample opportunities
The volunteer matching service on Victoria’s Volunteering Portal is a powerful online search engine that links prospective volunteers with targeted volunteer opportunities that closely match their specific volunteering needs.
Prospective volunteers can search for opportunities based on a range of criteria including interests, skills, time commitment, availability, location, age and special needs.
Volunteers come from all walks of life and have very different needs and motivations. The matching service has been designed to give prospective volunteers the flexibility to find volunteer opportunities (and volunteer organisations) that meet their individual needs.
When prospective volunteers search for opportunities on the Volunteering Portal they get a list of current opportunities that match the criteria they select. Some people will search very broadly with only a few criteria while others will be very specific about the type of role they seek.
A volunteer organisation’s opportunity will only appear in search results if it matches a prospective volunteer’s search criteria. For example, if an opportunity is open to all kinds of people, doesn’t require specific skills and can be done at any day or time then this will appear more often in search results. Alternatively, if an opportunity is quite specialised, targets specific kinds of people and can only be done at set times if will be found only by people seeking that particular kind of experience.
In both cases everybody wins. Volunteer organisations who have more generalist role to fill will attract a wider pool of prospective volunteers, while those with more specific needs will attract only those people who meet their requirements.
When you enter your volunteer opportunities on the Volunteering Portal, you are asked some quite specific questions about the nature of the opportunity.
This isn’t to make more work for you. It’s to ensure that we have the kind of information that prospective volunteers have told us that they want to know about an opportunity. This isn’t just things like what the opportunity involves and when and where it’s available. We also want to know:
- what skills and interests would suit this opportunity
- any specific types of people (audiences, ages, demographics) it would suit
- whether it requires a one-off or ongoing commitment of time
- if the volunteering activity needs to be done at certain days and times of the week (or can be done at anytime)
- whether the volunteer has to be at a specific location or they can work from anywhere
- what benefits your opportunity gives to volunteers e.g. training, work experience, social networking, altruism, health and fitness, giving back to the community
Providing as much of this extra information as you can ensures we can match your opportunity more closely with the needs of prospective volunteers. And it also gives prospective volunteers a really detailed overview of what you have to offer.
Of course, if you don’t have an opportunity that needs people with specific skills or interests, or you can be fairly flexible with the days and times that volunteers can be involved, then your opportunity will appeal to a much broader range of prospective volunteers.
Many of the items you need to complete when creating an opportunity are mandatory (i.e. you must include the information). This helps us to provide the best quality matches for every opportunity included in our matching service.
With the exception of items like names and descriptions, most of the things you need to include with your opportunity are added using simple check boxes or date selectors.
As a rule of thumb, if you want your opportunity to be open to a diverse range of people without the need for specific skills or availability be as broad as you can with your selections of things like skills, audience or the days and times a volunteer can do the role.
Alternatively, if you have very specific needs, make sure you are very specific with the items you check or select when you create your opportunity.
Even items that aren’t mandatory (e.g. information about access to public transport, parking or facilities for people with a disability) will provide useful additional information for prospective volunteers. Where possible try and provide this extra information if you have it to hand.
You can save your opportunities as drafts so you can log back into your account at any time and complete the details once you have gathered any extra information that you need.
If the information you need is not mandatory (i.e. doesn’t need to be included with your opportunity before it can be published) you can still go ahead and publish the opportunity. However, even non-mandatory information (e.g. information about access to public transport, parking or facilities for people with a disability) is very useful for prospective volunteers. Where possible try and provide this information, even if you need to come back and add it later after your opportunity has been published.
Even if an opportunity is published (i.e. is available for prospective volunteers to search), you can still login to your account and make changes to it at any time. The changes that you make will be published immediately, ensuring the most up-to-date information is available at all times.
When your opportunity reaches its expiry date it is archived and no longer searchable within the matching service. You will see your archived opportunities when you login to your account. You can reactivate an archived opportunity whenever you like by updating its activation and expiry dates and republishing it. This is handy for volunteer organisations that periodically advertise for the same positions.
Our Sample Opportunity page shows the kind of detailed information that prospective volunteers are interested in when they search for opportunities.